Angkor Wat - the grandest temple in human history started sojourn as a Hindu Temple dedicated to God Vishnu and was later transformed into a Buddhist temple. It was built in the early 12th century by the Khmer king Suryavarman II.
This grand temple was once lost and covered by dense forest. Since it was rediscovered, it has been one of the wonders of the world. It has been put on the national flag of Cambodia and is the most attractive tourist attraction of the country.
Angkor, which means city in Khmer, was the grand capital of the Khmer kingdom, and so far 72 temples and structures have been found.
If you are interested to visit the mighty Angkor Wat and avoid Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, you can take a bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap, one of the biggest cities of the country, which is just five kilometers away from the temple.
We met our local guide Koi, and he suggested going to Angkor in the early morning, its gate opens at five in the morning.
We agreed as we were interested to take photos of sunrise over the mysterious temple and its reflection on the nearby pond.
There are three kinds of entrance tickets for Angkor, one is for the whole day, another for three days, and the last one for a week.
The entrance ticket of Angkor has been one the finest and most memorable - they take your photo by webcam and print it out with your name and other information and turn it into a fantastic memento.
The very first destination our tuk-tuk took us to was the front of Angkor Wat, where you can see the giant Naga or snake sculpture.
After crossing a bridge - the whole complex is encircled by a man-made pool - we got the first glimpse of one of the most well-known historical architectures of the world, whose center was made like Mount Meru. According to Hindu mythology, Mount Meru is the mountain where Gods live.
Each column has several Apsara (dancers of heaven) sculptures, giant galleries depicting scenes from the epic Mahabharata, and some corners had deep pools without water in them.
Our next destination was the world-famous Bayon temple, which is known for the giant stones faces, all the faces look similar and each pillar has four faces and there are altogether 216 smiling faces of the Khmer King Jayavarman VII.
The Buddhist king came to power in 1181 AD and erected this temple.
Angkor Wat is also equally famous for some old trees, which do not look like trees at all, rather like giant, alien-like creatures who tie the temples with their huge tentacle like roots.
Among these temples, the most well-known is Ta Prohm, which was built in 13th century, and the trees had come much later, of course. The trees are mainly Tetrameles, a flowering deciduous tree.
Ta Prohm temple is one of the most visited complexes of Angkor and the credit goes to the alien-looking tree and temple combination.
Angkor Wat is an everlasting wonder – we roamed around from dawn till dusk, from temple to temple, from corridor to corridor, appreciating the breathtaking architecture and grand designs of the Khmer masterminds.
We witnessed the long giant walls that depicted stories form the Mahabharata and the grand temple that was decorated all over with elephant statues.
All I know that the next time I visit Angkor, I want to stay there for a few days in silence to appreciate more, and learn more about this magnificence.
Cambodian visa process:
Bangladeshi citizens wishing to visit Cambodia can avail the e-Visa online. With a single entry e-Visa, they can stay upto 30 days in the country. The online visa application process is usually hassle-free and short. The Cambodian visa allows only certain entry points such as the Phnom Penh International Airport, Siem Reap International Airport, among others.