Angkor Wat: A Magical Place

January 8, 2012 Cambodia 4 Comments 31,568 Views

Why Angkor Wat in Cambodia Is Such A Magical Place.

What defines a magical place? For me, this is an easy answer: It’s a place with which I associate positive thoughts, calmness & strength. I’m not an esoteric person but when it comes to Angkor Wat, it almost feels like there’s some sort on energy in the air.

Important historical details about Angkor Wat.

What most people don’t know is that Angkor Wat (which literally means “City of Temple”) was actually the name of the main temple, not the entire complex. It was built in the time of King Suryavarman II in the 12th century and is the best-preserved & most visited temple at the site. The complete temple area was known only as Angkor (which is situated on the plain of present-day Siem Reap province north of the Great Lake of Tonle Sap) and it served as the seat of the Khmer Empire until the 15th century. Each king built at least one giant temple during his ruling, which led to a total size of 200km2.

Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat.

Second thing a lot of people don’t know: The discovery of Angkor by French explorer Henri Mouhot is a bit of a myth. It is said that he re-discovered Angkor Wat in 1860 and that he was the first European to visit the area; both of which is not true. Angkor was never really “lost”. The Khmer knew of the existence even after the kingdom broke down. Some of the temples have been used all the time by fishermen and farmers who lived in the surroundings. In the 16th century, Portuguese missionaries reached the city and even reported about it. The interests of the colonial powers seemed to have swept this under the table…

Angkor Wat temple Suryavarman II.
Angkor Wat temple built for king Suryavarman II.

Tourists at Angkor Wat.

The temple area of Angkor is the most famous tourist site in Cambodia. It has become a symbol of this country, also appearing on its national flag. More than two million visitors come here every year. For the country itself this is a good thing, because there’s not that many other tourist attractions but for the complex, it’s not that convenient. Why? Well, let me try to get this straight: The average person doesn’t really look our for anyone but themselves … and that’s the truth. I could give you a million examples but for Angkor Wat in particular, I’ll give you these two:

1.) During our visit in 2010, we saw how some tourists leaned on a clearly not stable part of a less known temple … Do I don’t have to tell you how the story ended? No. Did they report it? I wouldn’t count on it. Did we report it? Yes, but the guys that we told didn’t seem to care that much.

2.) Four million feet each year (including a couple of thousand from elephants as seen in the photo below) can’t be good for these grounds. But that’s just my opinion.

Obviously I was not the only one who thought this because nowadays, you’re not able to get to all the temples as easy anymore. Some parts are even cut off completely (for example the door of Ta Prohm temple also seen below). Maybe the perfect photograph is ruined this way, but after all we want to enjoy this magical place for much longer!

Tousands of tourist visit Angkor Wat each year.
Millions of tourist visit Angkor Wat each year.
Tourist in front of the main temple at sunrise.
Tourist in front of the main temple at sunrise.
This is the absolute last thing we would ever do...
This is the absolute last thing we would ever do…

Of course it’s also possible to enjoy Angkor Wat without all the tourists. Just leave the normal path and you’re in the middle of a (almost spooky) jungle. The arsenal is so huge, you could walk for hours and maybe even get lost at some point…

Away from the tourist areas, Angkor can really be a bit spooky.
Away from the tourist areas, Angkor can really be a bit spooky.
One of the faces at Bayon temple.
One of the faces at Bayon temple.
Impressive walls around the temples were built as well.
Impressive walls around the temples were built as well.

The jungle is taking over.

Not only the destruction of the temples is visible but also how the jungle is taking over the temple complex. It’s no wonder that Angkor Wat succumbed to the encroaching jungle

The jungle is taking over at Angkor Wat.
The jungle is taking over at Angkor Wat.
The world famous Ta Prohm temple.
The world famous Ta Prohm temple in 2007.
Workers try to keep Angkor Wat in a good stage.
Workers try to keep Angkor Wat in a good stage.
Looks a bit like out of a science fiction movie...
Looks a bit like out of a science fiction movie…Taken in 2007.
Giant trees "eat" up the walls.
Giant trees “eat” up the walls.
Giant trees "eat" up the temples.
Giant trees literally “eat” up the temples.
Appreciate this Story?

Go tell your friends by sharing or tweeting it.

This Story is Tagged With:


4 Comments

Join the Discussion

“Why Angkor Wat in Cambodia Is Such A Magical Place.”

  1. So, so amazing! I first visited in 2002…and am looking at ducking back in a year’s time for my 4th visit. Cambodia is one of those places that has just got under my skin, and I will always return to!
    Thanks for sharing the photos, makes my idea to go start to firm up even more!

  2. Nisa

    Couldn’t agree more with you Tash: Cambodia really is a fantastic country! I love visiting it over and over again because there’s always something new to explore…

  3. Ravi sellamuthu

    Really magical place. All temple have their own power. I really can fell it when i at there. I love visiting this place again and again. There is hidden mystery which cant by explore by anybody……..

  4. Nisa

    Hi Ravi! Same here … Angkor Wat never loses its magic :)

Leave a Comment