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21 July 2024
Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world.

Visit Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

It was initially founded as a Hindu temple for the Khmer Empire, gradually transforming into a Buddhist temple toward the end of the 12th century.

It was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura, the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu, breaking from previous kings' Shaiva tradition. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors.

Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, the home of the devas in Hindu mythology. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas reliefs, and the numerous devatas adorning its walls.

The modern name, Angkor Wat, means 'Temple City' or 'City of Temples' in Khmer. Angkor, meaning 'city' or 'capital city', is a vernacular form of the word nokor, which comes from the Sanskrit word nagara. Wat is the Khmer word for 'temple grounds'.