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Temples of Angkor: Cambodia

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Angkor, Siem Reap

The temples of Angkor were built between 9th and 14th century, when Khmer civilization was at the height of its extraordinary creativity. Angkor rates among the foremost architectural wonders of the world.

Angkor Wat is the largest and undoubtedly the most breathtaking of the monuments of Angkor. Most probably it was constructed as a funerary temple for Suryavarma II (ruled 1112 - 52) to honor Vishnu, the Hindu deity who the king identified with.

Angkor Wat also replicates the spatial universe in miniature. The central tower is Mt Meru, with its surrounding smaller peaks, surrounding in turn by continents (the lower courtyards) and the oceans (the moat). In the central tower, the king prefigures the heaven that awaits him after death, the lofty peaks where apsara (heavenly nymphs) frolic with boundless amorous desire.

It also happens to be the largest Hindu temple in the world.

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