Lintel carvings and bas-reliefs

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by nemo247 on November 29, 2005

Definitely worthy of an entry of their own entry, the carvings at Angkor Wat and surrounding temples are a sight to behold. Although many of the carvings have had some of their detail worn away by the elements, there are still lots of examples that look like they might have been carved only a few years ago. While most of the temples now house statues of the Buddha, they were originally built at a time when the Khmer Empire was dominantly Hindu. Consequently, almost all of the carvings are representations of the Hindu pantheon and/or scenes from Hindu mythology. Even a little effort to learn about the Hindu gods and the classic myth "The Ramayana" will be rewarded with a much richer understanding of the carvings.

For most Westerners, some sort of guide or guidebook will be essential. I picked one up right outside the Temple for $6 from a street vendor and referred to it almost constantly while I was moving through the temples. I did some background reading from the guide on history, culture, building methods, materials, etc., and I found that it significantly improved my appreciation and understanding of the carvings on the second day. One thing to remember is that lighting can make a huge difference. Angkor Wat has over 2,000 Devatas, and I particularly enjoyed noting the difference it made to view them in the shade, the morning/evening light, and the bright midday sun.

Temple Complex of Angkor Wat
5.5 Km North of Siem Reap
Angkor, Cambodia

© LP 2000-2009