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Siem Reap

The Majestic temples of Angkor in northwest Cambodia belong to the classic period of Khmer art and civilization. Today, a millennium after they were built, they awe visits with their perfection and enmity. The temples are the creation of a succession of dominated most of Khmer Kings who presided over an empire that dominated most of present-day Southeast Asia from 800 to 1430, reaching its peak in the 12th century. The period began with the ascension to the throne by King Jayavarman II.

 

 

ANGKOR WAT
 Angkor Wat is the largest temple in the world, with a volume of stone equaling that of the Cheops pyramid in Egypt. It is unlike all other Khmer temples in that it faces west, and it is inspired by 12th century Hinduism. Conceived by Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat took several decades to build. Intricate base relief surround Angkor Wat on four sides.
Each tells a sty. The way the light glows on the ancient stones makes sunrise and sunset the best time to wander through Angkor Wat's 2 square kilometers, climb its tower.

 

 

 

ANGKOR THOM
 The ancient walled city of Angkor Thom, literally "Great City, "built in the 12th century by Jayavarman VII, contains the famous Bayon temple with its me than 200 enormous mysterious smiling faces. It also contains the 300 meter-long Elephant terrace with its large sculptured royal elephants and Garudas, the mythical guard half-man, half-bird. Also within the walled area is the terrace of the Leper King. A sandstone replica of the Leper King is here.

 

 

 

BANTEAY SREI
 This is the fabled pink temple of women, so called because it is made of pink sandstone & considered a tribute to the beauty of women. Its small size, delicate carving and remarkable state of preservation make Banteay Srei one of travelers' favorite temples. Its Apsara and male and female divinities represent the most skilled craftsman ship of sandstone carvings. It was dedicated in 987, making it one of the oldest temples in the region, though it was not rediscovered until the 1900s.

 

 

 

NEAK PEAN
 Prasat Neak Pean (Intertwined Naga) was built by Jayavarman VII, consists of a square pool with four smaller square pools arranged on each axis. In the center of the large central pool is a circular "island" encircled by the two Naga who intertwined tails give the temple its name. Water once flowed from the central pool into the four peripheral pools via ornamental spouts, which can still be seen in the pavilions at each axis of the pool.

 

 

 

KULEN MOUNTAIN
 At just about 42 km nth of Siem Reap Town, many visits combine a visit to Phnom Kulen with a trip to the pink sandstone temple of Banteay Srei. On either side of the mountain, tall waterfalls crash down the mountain; clean, clear and cool water provide a wonderful place of tourists. Carvings of Brahmin Yonis and lingas can be seen etched into the riverbed. A mountain peak temple houses a huge reclining Buddha, gazing serenely out from his peaceful mountain home.

 

 

 

BOEUNG MEALEA
 Boeung Mealea is the most accessible of Angkor’s lost temples, a mirror image of the mighty Angkor Wat, but totally and utterly consumed by the jungle. Constructed by Suryavarman II (ruled 1113-1150), the builder of Angkor Wat, nature has triumphed here, and it’s hard to get a sense of the monument’s shape a mid the daunting ruins. Boeung Mealea lies about 70Km from Siem Reap at the foot of Phnom Kulen’s eastern extreme. It takes 2-3 hours to get there via either Banteay Srei of Dam Dek on National Highway 6.

 

 

 

KBAL SPEAN
 The original “ River of a Thousand Lingas ”, Kbal Spean is and intricately carved riverbed deep in the foothills the Cambodian jungle. Lingas are phallic representations sacred to Hinduism as symbols of fertility, and hundreds of them are carved into the rock here, as are several carvings of Gods and animals above the small waterfall.  The area was only rediscovered in 1969 when French researcher Jean Boulbet was shown the carvings by a local hermit. Kbal Spean lies 50Km northeast of Siem Reap 18Km from Banteay Srei on a dirt road. It takes from 1-2 hours to get there from Siem Reap.

 

 

 

PHNOM BAKHENG
 Dominating the flat landscape, this 10th Century mountain temple is the most popular spot in the area to watch a classic sunset over Angkor Wat and the surrounding fest.

 

 

 
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