Angkor Wat: Visiting The World’s Largest Religious Monument

Entrance to Angkor Wat

After a lovely time in Phnom Penh, we took a bumpy bus ride across the country to Siem Reap, home of the famed Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the world’s largest Hindu temple complex, and the overall largest religious monument (of any faith), anywhere in the world. The temple complex was built in the 12th century, and was originally dedicated to Vishnu, a Hindu god. However in 1177, Angkor was attacked and a new empire came to power. Gradually the temple was changed from a Hindu house of worship to a Buddhist one. While never fully abandoned, the temple complex became used less over time. The surrounding jungle grew up around it, hiding the temple while simultaneously preserving it. Angkor Wat was continually used by Cambodian people, but it wasn’t until the late 1500′s that it was “discovered” by Westerners and began to gain worldwide fame.

Angkor Wat Cambodia

One thing I didn’t realize about Angkor Wat is just how big it is. The complex is surrounded by a wall, which encloses 820,000 square meters of land (203 acres). Seeing all of Angkor Wat would take more than a couple of days. Unfortunately for us, the day we went I felt terrible. The whole time in Cambodia I had a lingering sensation of nausea, but I never actually got sick. I like to call our day at this famous temple “the day I tried not to puke on Angkor Wat.” I would walk for a while, take some pictures, and then sit in the shade and try not to vomit. Fun, right? So we only spent a couple of hours there–so sad! Whatever my sickness was, it resolved as soon as we left Cambodia. I’m not sure if it was the water or our anti-malaria medication or what, but despite how much I loved Cambodia, I spent a lot of time there feeling under the weather.

Inside Angkor Wat

Despite our relatively short visit, we managed to take hundreds of photos. It’s a bit ridiculous really. I’ve tried to not overwhelm you all and just choose some of the best. Without further ado, here’s a little peek into one of the grandest temples on earth!

A Day At Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat moat

Statue in front of Angkor Wat

Women working at Angkor Wat

Statue at Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Details at Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Details at Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Shrine at Angkor Wat

Details at Angkor Wat

Walking around Angkor Wat

Details at Angkor Wat

Horse show at Angkor Wat

Inside Angkor Wat

Walkway in Angkor Wat

Performers at Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Monks at Angkor Wat

Details at Angkor Wat

Inside Angkor Wat

Inside Angkor Wat

Man cooling off at Angkor Wat

Grounds at Angkor Wat

Details at Angkor Wat

Moat at Angkor Wat

Boys walking at Angkor Wat

Massive Angkor Wat

Grounds at Angkor Wat

Inside Angkor Wat

Flowers in pond at Angkor Wat

Inside Angkor Wat

Crowds at Angkor Wat

Matt taking photos at Angkor Wat

Walking in Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Statue at Angkor Wat

Kids playing at Angkor Wat

Monks at Angkor WatI had a really hard time limiting the amount of photos I included! Beautiful places make taking beautiful photos so easy. Which one is your favorite?

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30 Responses to “Angkor Wat: Visiting The World’s Largest Religious Monument”

  1. Lori Finley January 24, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    I loved the little kids! But, also to see pictures of things that are so ancient is amazing. Sorry you didn’t feel well. You still got wonderful pictures.

    • Andrea January 24, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

      Those kids were so cute! And I can’t take all the credit for the photos, Matt takes a lot of them :) The more I think about it, the more I’m sure the sickness was the malaria meds. Eventually I think I just got used to them!

  2. H-J January 24, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    Ahhh I’ve been anticipating this particular blog with excitement!!! Angkor Wat is top of my list of places left still to explore while in Asia – hopefully later this year! In this format of blog though, there seems to be nowhere to push a like button :( LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE!!!
    H-J recently posted…Incredible India – Where it all Begins!My Profile

    • Andrea January 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

      Glad to hear you liked it! Sorry there’s no like button…I tried to add one once, and it ended up just messing up other parts of the site. You guys will not be disappointed if you make it there! Cambodia in general is pretty amazing, and was probably overall my favorite part of Asia.

  3. Vanessa January 24, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Great pictures! I think pictures are such an important part of any blog post. Especially as someone who enjoys taking pictures, I like to see how other people view new places through the lens! :D I love the one of the two boys beside the water, and also the two monks walking down the path. I wonder why the dirt path under the trees is so curvy… adds a cool dimension! :D So interesting that such a giant temple site actually changed religious affiliation! I wonder what the local Hindus think about Buddhism taking over…
    Vanessa recently posted…3 Videos: Cute Korean students, Improv Music, and French… Something for everyone!My Profile

    • Andrea January 30, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      I’m glad you enjoyed the photos–they are my favorite part of blogging for sure! I love taking them, I love sharing them :) I think the path might be so curvy because it probably originally weaved through the jungle. That’s my guess at least! And interestingly, many temples all across Asia have changed religious affiliation, and so now, many temples are used by both Buddhists and Hindus. Matt and I visited a few temples where we were confused about the affiliation, and it made so much more sense once we learned they were open to more than one religion.

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