Travelers of today are showing immense interest in destinations which have historical backgrounds. Cambodia is such a country as the largest Temple Complex ‘Angkor Wat’ proudly stands near Siem Reap. Historical monuments of Angkor and Phnom Penh attract a lot of tourist across the world on a regular basis.
The Kingdom of Cambodia is a South East Asian nation bordered by Vietnam, Thailand, Laos.
Cambodia is mainly known for Ankgor Temples, however Cambodia is more then its temples, the urban areas surprise with their sophistication. Phnom Penh is the busy capital of Cambodia and was earlier known as ‘Pearl of Asia’ and was considered to be one of the loveliest French Built cities in Indo-China. The city is located at the junction of Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers and has been a hub for Khmer Empire as well as French Coloniaslists. The walk-able river front is lined with parks, restaurants and bars. The Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National museum add to the charm of the Capital city. The city also boasts of a art deco style Central Market.
Siem Reap is the second largest city of Cambodia and has a lot of Cosmopolitan café’s, diverse nightlife and the iconic Angkor Temples nearby. Siem Reap has colonial and chinese style architecture in the old quarter. Angkor was the capital city of the Khmer empire and flourished from approximately 9 to 15th Century. The city houses the magnificent Angkor Wat temple which today is one of the most popular tourist sites in Cambodia. In addition to this one can do a excursion to Tunle Sap lake, take a boat ride and visit the floating village.
In addition to the 2 popular cities, Cambodia also has beautiful countryside with landscapes of dazzling rice paddies and swaying sugar palms, south coast is fringed by tropical islands dotted with fishing villages. The North east part of Cambodia is a world unto itself, its wild and mountainous landscapes are home for Cambodia’s ethnic minorities and an abundance of natural attractions.
Top 5 Historical Sites of Cambodia
– Angkor Wat was buitlt by Suryavarman II. This temple is the heart and soul of Cambodia and a symbol of National pride. This temple was dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu. The building of the temple is likely to have used 3,00,000 workers which included architects, labourers, masons, sculptors and support staff. Construction took over 30 years and was never completely finished. The site is entirely built out of stone and every surface is treated and carved with narrative or decorative details.
– Bayon Temple is a well known and richly decorated Khmer temple at Angkor in Cambodia, this temple is located in the heart of Angkor Thom and was constructed in the 12th century and was the state temple of King Jayavarman VII. The temple has 54 Gothic towers and they are decorated with 21y gargantuan smiling faces of Avalokiteshvara. Temple has an eastward orientation and hence most people prefer to visit the temple early morning, however once visit in the later in the day as well.
– Bante Srei or Banteay Srey is a 10th century Cambodian temple dedicated to Hindu god Shiva and is located in the area of Angkor. Banteay Srei is built largely of red sandstone, the elaborate decorative carvings on the stone is visible even today. This temple has been widely praised as a ‘precious gem’ or the ‘jewel of Khmer art’ and very popular amongst tourists.
– Royal Palace in Phnom Penh is a complex of buildings which serves as a Royal residence of King of Cambodia. The King of Cambodia has occupied the palace since it was constructed in 1860 with a period of absence when the country came into turmoil during and after the reign of Khmer rouge. Some of the buildings in the Royal Palace complex are the Throne Hall, Chanchhaya Pavilion, Hor Samran Phirun, Hor Samrith Phimean, Napoleon III Pavilion etc.
– Silver Pagoda, Wat Preah Keo Morokat means Temple of the Emerald Buddha is inside the palace complex just separated by a wall and a walkaway. The Pagoda is unique in several ways. It is a pagoda where the King meets with monks to listen to their sermons and where some Royal ceremonies are performed. The Pagoda also houses some priceless historical objects including the ‘Emrald Buddha’ and unlike most Pagodas, no monks live at this pagoda.
– Koh Ker is a 10th century temple complex in the north Cambodian jungle. Koh Ker was a former capital of the Khmer empire and is now a remote and heavily forested area. The temple is 35 metres high and the design resembles a seven stepped stupa. So far around 96 temples have been found in this area and some of them are no longe standing and some buried in the ground.
Cambodia is home to one of the most historical and ancient temple complex in the world, Angkor Wat originally built as a Hindu temple and later transformed into Buddhist temple is spectacular, in addition to this there are the cities of Siem Reap and Capital Phnom Penh which are equally attractive an offer modern café’s and also offers good nightlife. One can also explore the unexplored countryside and beaches of Cambodia which are fascinating.