Built in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat combines a temple mountain surrounding by galleries. Shown above, the temple mountain symbolizes Mount Meru, the home of the Hindu gods.
This aerial view of Angkor Wat from google Earth shows Angkor Wat and yellow pins with the location of some of the photos.The main entrance faces west, near the reflecting pool pin at the bottom where we stood for the dawn photos over Angkor Wat. Most Hindu and Buddhist temples face east — the rising sun. The length of shadows indicates the height of the building or terrace. Angkor Wat is built as a stacked pyramid, where you go higher as you get closer to the center.
Angkor Wat from the north gate is at the top of this post. The naga steps is at the upper-left corner. The steps are part of the outer terrace.
After climbing the steps, the outer gallery comes into view.
The outer gallery has bas-reliefs, such as the eternal battle of good and evil shown below.
The five towers in the center symbolize Mount Meru. Here’s the stairway up to the towers. Perhaps the steepness demonstrates the difficulty of ascending to home of the gods.
Four towers form a square, and the fifth tower is in the center of the square. Each of the four quadrants of the square is a pool, so the central tower has four pools around it. The central tower and a pool are shown below. The towers are shaped like lotus flowers.
This photo taken from a tower shows the courtyard, a gallery, and the reflecting pool where we took the dawn photos.
Virginie, a person in our group, took a picture of a local woman in the courtyard. Following Virginie’s example, I caught the woman’s eye, smiled, and motioned with my camera. The woman smiled back and nodded. Here’s my photo, thanks to Virginie’s example.
Angkor Wat and many other temples are faced with sandstone from a quarry 40 km away. Per wikipedia, “The monument was made out of millions of tonnes of sandstone and it has a greater volume as well as mass than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. The Angkor Wat Temple consumes about 6 million to 10 million blocks of sandstone with an average weight of 1.5 tons each. In fact, the entire city of Angkor used up far greater amounts of stone than all the Egyptian pyramids combined, and occupied an area significantly greater than modern-day Paris.”