Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia which is the heart and soul of Cambodia and a source of fierce national pride. It is the largest religious monument in the world which was originally constructed as a Hindu temple of god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, gradually transforming into a Buddhist temple. It was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. He was never buried there as he died in battle during a failed expedition to subdue the Dai Viet
Stretching around the outside of the central temple complex is an 800 meters long series of intricate and astonishing bas-reliefs, carvings depicting historical events and stories from mythology. Angkor Wat also replicates the spatial universe in miniature. The central tower is Mt Meru, with its surrounding smaller peaks, bounded in turn by continents (the lower courtyards) and the oceans (the moat). The seven-headed naga becomes a symbolic rainbow bridge for man to reach the abode of the gods.
Angkor Wat is famous for having more than 3000 beguiling apsaras carved into its walls. Each of them is unique, and there are 37 different hairstyles for budding stylists to check out. Many of these apsaras were damaged during efforts to clean the temples with chemicals during the 1980s, but they are being restored. The best time to visit Angkor Wat is from November to February, when the weather is dry and cooler, although it’s still hot for most. The best time of day is sunrise when it’s cooler but crowded, or lunchtime when most of the tour groups are in town. As the temples of Angkor represent a sacred religious site to the Khmer people, visitors are asked to dress modestly. It is not possible to visit the highest level of Angkor Wat without upper arms covered and shorts to the knees.