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Welcome To Prasat Batchum
Location: 6 kms (4miles) north of Siem Reap, south of Angkor Thom
Access: Enter and leave Angkor Wat form the west
Date: Angkor Wat was built in the first half of the 12th century (1113-50) estimated time for construction of the temple is 30 years.
King: Suryavarman II
Religion: Hinduism (dedicated to Visnu)
Artstyle: Angkor Wat.
Angkor wat the largest monument of Angkor Group and the best preserved is an architectural masterpiece. Its perfection in composition; balance; proportions; reliefs and sculpture make it one of the 7 finest monument in the world. Wat is the Cambodian name for the temple (the French spelling’s Vat); which was probably added to (Angkor) when it became a (Theravada Buddhist) monument, most likely in the (16th century) for the etymology of the name Angkor. After (1432) when the Capital moved to (Phnom Penh), Angkor Wat was cared by Buddhist monks. It’s generally accepted that Angkor Wat was a funerary temple for the king Suryavarman II. Angkor it was originally oriented to the west to confirm with the symbolism between the setting sun and death. The bas-reliefs, designed for viewing from the left to right in the order of Hindu funeral ritual, support this function. The plan of Angkor Wat’s difficult to grasp when walking through the monument because of the vastness. Its complexity, beauty both attract and distract one’s attention. Angkor wat was originally consisted 3 rectangular levels. Each one is progressively smaller and higher than the one below. Covered galleries with columns define the boundaries of the first and second level. The third level support the 5 towers, 4 towers at the corners and one in the middle and there are the most prominent architectural feature of Angkor Wat. This arrangement’s sometimes called a Quincunx Graduated tiers; one rising above the other, give the towers a conical shape and near the top, rows of lotuses tape to a point. The overall profile imitates a lotus bud. The ingenious plan of Angkor Wat only allows a view of all 5 towers from certain angles. Many of the structures and courtyards are in the shape of across. (Helen Churchill Candee), who visited Angkor Wat in the 1920, thought their usefulness surpassed their architectural purpose.
Angkor Wat is a miniature replica of the universe in stone and represents an earthly model of cosmic world. The central tower rises from the center of the monument symbolizing the mythical (Mount Meru) situated at the center to the universe. Its 5 tower correspond to the peaks of Meru. The outer wall correspond to the mountains at the edge of the world, and the surrounding moat the oceans beyond.
Even though Angkor Wat is the most photographed Khmer monument, nothing approaches the actual experience of seeing this temple. (Frank Vincent) grasped this sensation over 100 years ago.
The general appearance of the wonder of the temple’s beautiful and romantic as well as impressive and grand… it must be seen to be understood and appreciated. (Helen Churchill Candee) experienced a similar reation some 50 years later; Angkor Wat’s the most impressive sight in the world of edifices. Angkor wat occupies a rectangular area of about (208 hectares)(500 acres) defined by a laterite wall. The first evidence of the site is a moat with a long sandstone causeway (225 ms long x 12 ms wide) and 7 ms high crossing it and serving as the main access to the monument. The moast’s (190 ms widex 3 ms deep) and a vast rectangular around the temple with a perimeter of (5.5 kms),(3.4 miles). The west entrance of Angkor Wat begins with steps leading to a raised sandstone terrace in the shape of across at the foot of the long causeway. Giant stone lions on each side of the terrace guard the temple. Looking straight ahead, one can see at the end of the causeway, the entry gate with 3 towers of varying heights and with collapse upper portion. This entry tower hides the full view of the 5 towers of the central group. Along covered gallery with square columns and a curved roof extends along the moat to the left and right of the entry tower. This is the majestic façade of Angkor Wat and a fine example of the classical Khmer architecture. (Helen Churchill Candee) must have been standing on this terrace almost 70 years ago. On the left side just before the midway point in the causeway 2 large feet’re carved in a block of sandstone. They belong to the one figure at Angkor Thom and were brought to Angkor Wat in this century, when the causeway was repaired with reused stone. The causeway leads to the cross shaped entry towers mentioned earlier. The upper portions of the 3 sections on this tower-one each at the center and the 2 ends-have collapsed. The porchs on each end of the gallery may have served as the passages for elephants, horses and carts as they are on the ground level. When saw these entrances in 1920, she remarked that architecture made to fit the passage of elephant’s an idea most inspiriting. A figure of standing (Visnu) 8 arms is on the right in side Continue westward along a second raised walkway (350 ms; 1148 feet logn x 9ms wide; 30 feet). A low balustrade resemling the body of a serpent borders each side. Short columns support the balustrade. Looking west one sees the celebrated view of Angkor Wat that appears on the Cambodian flag. 6 pairs of ceremonial of the serpent balustrade along the walkway frame the stairs. This arrangement is sometimes called (A landing platform). The balustrade terminates with the body of the serpent and gracefully spreading its 9 heads to form the shape of a fan. 2 building; so called (libraries), stand in the courtyard on the left and right; just past the middle of the causeway. A large central area; 4 porches columns and steps present a symmetrical plan in the shape of across. Some of the columns’ve been replaced with cement copies for support. An original pillars lies on the ground before the library on the left. Infront of 2 libraries’re 2 basins length (65 ms; 213 feet x 50 ms width; 164 feet). The one on the left is filled with water; whereas the other one on the right is usually fried. The walkway leads to a terrace in the shape of across; known as the (Terrace of Honour); just infront of the principal entry tower of Agnkor Wat. Supporting columns and horizontal carved mouldings around the base accentuate the form of the terrace. Steps flanked by lions on the pedestals are on 3 sides of the terrace. Ritual dances were performed here and it may have been where (the king) viewed processions and received foreign dignitaries.
(RJ Casey sensed such activity in the (1920). One can’t but feel that only a few hours ago it was palpitating with life. The torches were burning about the altars. Companies of priests were in the galleries chanting the rituals. Dancing girls were flitting up and down the steps. That was only an hour or 2 ago but today it can’t have been more. From the top of the terrace; there is a fine view of the gallery on the first level, known as the gallery of Bas-reliefs (215 ms long x 187 ms wide; 705 x 614 feet). The outer side comprises a row of 60 columns whereas the inner side is a solid wall decorated with bas-reliefs. After this point the visitors have to choose of continuing straight to the central towers or turning right to see the gallery of bas-reliefs. The unit providing a link between the first and second levels is the cross-shaped galleries. This unique architectural design consists of 2 covered galleries with square columns in the shape of across and courtyard divided into 4 equal parts with paved basins and steps. The methods used by the Khmers to form corbel arches’s visible in the vaults. Several decorative features in this galleries standout; windows with balusters turned as if they were made of wood. Some of the pillars in this gallery of the courtyard have inscriptions written in Sanskrit and Khmer. On either side of the courtyard there are 2 libraries of similar form but bigger than the ones along the entrance causeway. The gallery of (1,000 Buddhist) on the right once contained many images dating from the period when Angkor Wat was Buddhist.
Only a few of the figures remain today. The Gallery on the left is the (Hall of Echoes), so named because of its unusual acoustics. To hear the resonance in the (Hall of Echoes) walk to the end of the gallery; Stand in the lefthand corner with your back to the wall; thumpy your chest and listen carefully. If you want to visit the library should leave by the door at the end of this gallery. There is a good view of the upper level of Angkor Wat from this library. The outer wall of the gallery of the second level (115 ms long x 100 ms wides)(377 x 328 feet) is solid and undecorated; probably to create an environment for meditation by the priests and the king. Angkor Wat there were over (1500 Apsaras)(Apsara: celestial dancers) Line the wall of the gallery; offering endless visual and spiritual enchantment. These graceful and beautiful females delight all visitors. They were created by (the Churning of the Ocean of Milk). When one first walks into the courtyard the multitude of the female figure on the walls and in the niches may seem repetitive but as one moves closer and look carefully one sees that every one of the celestial nymphs is different. On the upper or third level of Angkor wat were only allowed the king and the high priest. It lacks the stately covered galleries of the other 2 but is the base of the 5 towers of the central sanctuary one of which contained the most sacred image of the temple. The square base is (60 ms, 197 feet long) of the upper level is (13 ms, 43 feet) high and rises over (40 ms, 131 feet) above the second level. (12 stairs with 40 steps each one in the centre of each side and 2 at the corners. The steps on all sides are exceptionally narrow. The visitors should ascend and descend sideways. All the repetitive elements of the architectural composition of Angkor Wat appear on the upper level. The space’s divided into across-shaped area defined with covered galleries and 4 paved courts. An entry tower with a porch and columns is at the top of each stairway. Passages supported on both sides with double rows of columns link the entry tower to the central structure. The corners of the upper level’re dominated by the 4 towers. Anarrow covered gallery with a double row of pillars and windows and balusters on the outer side surround the third level.
The Central Sanctuary:
Rises on a tiered base (42 ms)(137 feet) above the upper level. The highest of the 5 towers, it’s equal in height to the (Cathedral of Nore Dame) in Parts. This central sanctuary sheltered the central tower was walled up sometime after the sacking of Angkor Wat in the middle of the (15th century). Nearly 500 years later French archaeologists discovered a vertical shalf (27 ms, 89 feet) below the surface in the center of the upper level with a hoard of gold objects at the base. At the summit of Angkor Wat reveals itself at last. The view’s a spectacle of beauty befitting the Khmers architectural genius for creating harmomous proportions.
Gallery of Bas-relief:
Helen Churchill Candee wrote the Bas-reliefs in (1920). The gallery of bas-reliefs, surrounding the first level of Angkor Wat, contains (1200 square ms, 12.917 square feet) of sandstone carvings. The reliefs cover the most of the inner wall of all 4 sides of the gallery and extend for (2 ms, 7 feet) from the top to bottom. Columns along the outer wall of the gallery create an intriguing interplay of light and shadow on the reliefs. The Bas-reliefs are of dazzling rich decoration-wrong a visitor 50 year ago (0 sitwell). The bas-reliefs are divided into (8 sections),(2 on each wall) of the square gallery. Each section depicts a specific theme. There were the 2 pavilions at the corners of the west gallery have a variety of scenes. The composition of the Bas-reliefs can be divided in (2 types): (1) Scenes: without any attempt to contain or separate the contents (2) Scenes: contained in panels which as sometimes superimposed on another – this type’s probably later. The panles run horizonally along the wall and generally consists or (2 or 3 parts). Sometimes the borders at the top and bottom’re also decorated: – Themes for the Bas-reliefs derive form 92 main source): (1) Indian epics and sacred books. (2) And warfare of the Angkor period. Some scholars suggest that the placement of bas-reliefs have a relevance to its themes. The word (bas) means: “low” or “shallow” and refers to the degree of projection of the reliefs. The method of creating of reliefs at Angkor Wat was generally to carve away the background leaving the design in relief. Sometimes though the appearance on the surface. There’re 2 theories as to why this occurred. The position fo the sheen rubbing their hands over them. Some art historians though think it was the result of lacquer applied over the reliefs. Traces of gilt and paint, particularly black and red can also be found on some of the reliefs. They are probably there mains of an undercoat or a fixative.
Many of these reliefs shine with almost glasses like smoothness, many pilgrims who rubbing their hands ran over the reliefs. This battle scene is the main subject of the (Hindu Epic) “Mahabharata”. It recalls the historic wars in (Kurukshetra), a province in India, and depicts the battle between rival enemies who are cousins. The armies of the (KIauravas and Pandavas) march form opposite ends towards the center or the panel where they meet in combat. Head-pieces differentiate the warriors of the 2 armies. The scene begins with infantry marching into battlefield and musicians playing a rhythmic cadence. The battlefield is the scene of hand to hand combat and many dead soldiers. Chief Officer and generals (represented in a larger scale) oversee the battle in chariots and on elephants and horses. (Bhisma) near the beginning of the panel, one of the heroes of the (Mahabharata) and commander of the Kauravas, pierced with arrows, was dying and his men surrounded him. Visnu intervenes in his incarnation as the 4 armed (Krishna) as the charioteer of Arjuna, who holding the reins, and Arjuna (holding a shield decorated with the face of the demon) (Rahu). A victory of good is over evil.
The Pavilion (South-West):
The bas-reliefs in this corner pavilion depiet scenes from the life of (Krishna), and rom the Indian epics (the Ramayana). * East : (A) left: The water festival, 2 ships superimnosed with Apsaras, and we can see the chess players on the top of the top of the ship. On the right: we can see the cock fight. (B) Center above the door: we could see the god (Visnu) receiving the offerings from the faithful, people. * West (C) left: (Siva) sits with his wife (Parvati) on (Mount Kailasa) and below them, one can see a strange character in the demon (Ravana) trying to shake the mountain. (D): center above the door: (Krishna) uproots the tree, when who was a child, to which his mother had attached him and knocking down the tree which the instrument catch in. (E): depicts the demon (Ravana); disguised as a chameleon; present himself at the palace of (Indra). * North (F): left: The Churning of the Ocean of Milk (gods and demons) hold a snake, (Vinsu);(above) the sun and moon. (G) Depicts (Rama 7 incarnation of Visnu) killed (Marika), who transforms as a golden stag, helped in the abduction of (Sita). (H) Right hand: (Krishna) who lifts the (Mount Govardhana) to shelter the shepherds and the herds from the storm ignited by the anger of (Indra). * South (I) depicts the struggle of the 2 monkey-kings between (Vali and Sugriva), (Rama) shoots (Vali) with an arrow who lies in the arms of his wife (3 pointed headdress), her name’s (Tara), monkey named to the (Himayanas) to meditate, his wife[parvati];tried to attract his attention but fails and is disappointed that, he doesn’t notice her. The gods ask (Kamadeva;god of love), to assist (Pravati) into (Siva’s heart). The latter is angry and shoots a fiery ray from his frontal eye, reducing (Kamadeva) to be ashes. (K) Depicts the god of (Visnu) in the deep forest amongst the wild animals.
South Gallery (Army of king Suryavarman II)
Tis gallery depicts a splendid triumphal procession from a battle between the Khmer and their enemies and also show the Khmer history. The reliefs show the method of warfare, mainly hand-to-hand combat; the naturalistic depiction of trees and animals in the background of this panel. In the central of the first picture is (King Suryavarman II); the builder of Angkor wat; (1113-1150); who appears twice. He’s on the low throne; take audience with his minister and fortune teller in guessing the way on the foot of the mountain; and procession the princess. According to an inscription; on the panel identifies him by his posthumous name (Paramavishnuloka); and tell the procession on (Mount Shivapada); suggesting it may have been done after his death. The rectangular holes in the carving may have contained precious objects; or they were used to have magical power of the temple. On the upper tier the king (seats with traces of gilt on his body). (round bulging eyes, crested helmets) and on another side, a row of 88 gods (almond-shaped eyes, conical headdresses). They work together by holding and churning the serpent. Hanuman the monkey god, assist. Visnu in his reincarnation as a tortoise, offers the back of his shell as a base for the mountain (Mandara)(11 yojanas), and as a pivot for the churning. He sits on the bottom of the ocean. A large cord in the form of the body of the serpent’s body; the demons hold the head and the gods hold the tail of the serpent. And then churn the water. The gods and demons are directed by 3 persons (Identified by their larger size). (Indra) is one the top of (Visnu). On the . extreme right (Hanuman) ally of the gods; tickles the serpent. (Visnu) appears in this scene again is another reincarnation as a human beings with 4 arms to preside over the churning which; according to legend; lasted more than 1000 years churn the sea under which were born the numerous other beings are depicted such; (The 3 headed elephant of Indra; Apsaras; Lakshim; goddess of beauty or good fortune; a horse (Ucchaisvawh). The churning provokes the serpent; to vomit the mortal venom which covers the waves of ocean. Afraid the venom may destroy the gods; demons; (Brahma) intervenes and requests (Shiva) to devour and drink the venom which will leave an indelible trace on Shiva’s throat. He complied and; as a result; the Amrita pour forth. The demon rushes to captures all the liquid. Vishnu hurries to the rescue and assumes yet another reincarnation as a (Matya) a bewitching beauty; and is able to restore much of the liquid.
Just past the middle of the east gallery there is an inscription interesting of the early 18th century when Angkor Wat was a Buddhist monastery. It tells of a provincial governor who built a small tomb where he deposited the bones of his wife and children. The structure is in poor condition but recognizable in its original location; directly in front of the inscription; in the gallery.
Victory of Vishnu over the Demons:
The bas-reliefs in this section of the of east gallery and the south part of the north gallery were probably completed at a later date; perhaps the 15th or 16th century. The stiffness of the figures and the cursory workmanship reveal this change. An army of demons marches towards the center of the panel center; Vishnu 4 arms sits on the shoulders of a Garuda. A scene of carnage follows Vishnu slaughters the enemies on the both sides and disperses the bodies. The leaders of the demons (mounted on animals) or riding in chariots draw by monsters are surrounded by marching solders. Another group of warriors (bows; arrows) with their chiefs (in chariots or mounted on big peacocks) follows.
At the beginning of the panel (Vishnu) in his incarnation as (Krishna)(framed by 2 heroes) sits on the shoulder of a Garuda. (Agni) the god of the fire multiple arms; site on a rhinoceros behind him. This scene appears several times. A wall surrounding the city is on fire and prevents the advance of (Krishna) (mounted on a Garuda) and his army of gods. This Krishna scene also appears several times in the panel. The Garuda extinguished the fire with water from the sacred river Ganges. The demon (Bana) multiples arms; mounted on a lion approaches from the opposite direction.
Extreme right: Krishna (1000 heads; hands); across his chest; kneels in front of Siva who sits enthroned on (Mount Kailasa) with his wife (Parvati) and their son (Ganesa) head of elephant as they demand that Siva spare the life of Bana (Demon King).
Corner Pavilion (North-West)
The Bas-reliefs in this pavilion depict scenes from the life of (Krishna) and from indian epic the “Ramayana”. Several of these scense’re in good condition: (I) EAST PART (A) south wing: (depicts Vishnu) with 4 arms when he was incarnated as (Krishna) mounted on a Garuda returns from a successful campaign at (Mount Maniparvata) which he took form a demon; he killed; and accompanied by his army; servants who carry the spoils of the demons. To the right of Garuda; we can see Krishna’s wife. (B) North wing (Upper part): (Vishnu reclines on the serpent “Ananta” floating on cosmic water; but at the upper part of whose body and head are missing. We can also see Visnhu’s consort names (Lakshmi) sits at his feet. Lotus blossoms grow from Vishnu’s body and at the upper part; Apsaras carry flowers glide around him. In the flower part: A group of 9 (gods had come to ask for the new universe and pay homage to him; those gods’re: (1) Surya (god of the sun); in chariot drawn by horses; (2) Kubera (god of the property), standing on the shoulders of the Yaksu. (3) Brahma (god of the creator), riding on a sacred goose “Hasma”; (4) Skanda (god of the war) riding on a pearcock), (5) Agni (god of fire on a horse); (6)Indra (God of the sky) on a 3 headed elephant “Airavata”; (7) Yama (god of the justice and death) riding on a buffalo; (8) Siva (God of the creator or destroyer); on a bull ”Namdin”; (9)The last god on the right has not been identified on a lion. (C) East Wing: (center above the door); depiction of discussion an alliance; left “Rama” with his bow and Lakshmans with his sword try to win the support of the monkey king Sugriva on the right. (II) THE WEST PART: (D) North wing: The scene show Rama’s victory returns to (Ayodhya). He sits enthroned on a richly decorated chariot drawn by geese (Hasma). In the lower part: The scene of monkeys accompany the chariot; and also show monkey’s merriment. (E) South wing: depict Sita Rama’s wife was in the arms of Ravana; she was surrounded by female demons with a long beak; one day Sita met Hanuman; leader of the monkeys; ally of Rama; in the forest of (Shoka) during her imprisonment; in (Sri lanka). Rama wanted to see her and request Hanuman to explain the idea of Rama; in the near future; she will be liberated by Rama from Srilanka to Ayodhya; then Hanuman gives her the Rama’s ring to keep for his honesty to Sita. (F) West wing: (Center above the door): depicts; monkeys in forest; a demon is fleeing; but this one is (Vibhishana); brother fo Ravana. (III) NORTH PART: (G) West wing: A scene from the Ramayana; (torture of Sita wife of Rama) when Rama doubts Sita’s fidelity on her return from Srilanka; she subits herself to trial by fire; indicating her fidelity to Rama; when she was in the enemy clutch’s Ravana at Srilanka; but finally she’s unharmed because she could keep her fidelity for Rama. (this panel is badly damaged). (H) North wing: center above the door depicted a demon named (Rakshasa).(I) East wing: This wing depicted with the women’s quarters of a palace. (VI) SOUTH PART: (J) East wing: A scene at the court king (Janaka). Rama return as victor; and to his right sit king (Janaka) and a “Brahman” with coilet hair; Infront of Rama; Sita can be seen dressed in fine chothes; with her hair in 3 braids forming a coronet on her head. She’s surrounded by her entourage. At the center of the scene show Rama’s victory who’s shooting arrows through a wheel; while it turns on a pole. (K) South wing: (center above the door): A monster whose body is simply a gigantic head and 2 arms; is faced by 2 men with swords presumably Rama and Lakshmana. (L) West wing: depicts Vishnu (Seated 4 arms) Surrounded by flying Apsaras. West Gallery: (Battle of Lanka). This scene form the (Ramanyana); is along; fierced struggle between (Rama and the demon king Ravana) (10 heads and 20 arms); near the center. It’s among the finest of Bas-reliefs at Angkor Wat. The battle take place in Shilanka and end with the defeat of Ravana; captor of Sita; the beautiful wife of Rama. The central figures are the monkey warriors who fight against the Raksasa on the Rama’s side. The brutality of war is juxtaposed with a graceful of lithe some monkeys. Past the center (Rama stands on the shoulders of Hanuman surrounded by arrows; Lakshmana; his brother with sword. The demon king Ravana (10 heads and 20 arms) rides in a chriot drawn by mythical monsters. Further on; Nala; the monkey who built Rama’s bridge to Lanka is between then leaning on the heads of 2 lions. A monkey prince tears out the tusk of an elephant which is capped with a 3-pointed headdress and throw him and the demon to the ground.