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WORLD AROUND US Angkor Wat and More: Cambodia’s Architectural Wonders - P2/2 (In Khmer)    
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Today’s The World Around Us will be presented in Khmer and English, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, khmer, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

Greetings and welcome to The World Around Us. Angkor Wat, located in Siem Reap province of Cambodia, is one of the world’s largest religious monuments. It has remained so for over the past almost 900 years since it was built. At sunrise, it is an amazing site to behold.

Today Angkor Wat, appearing on Cambodia’s national flag, has become the proud symbol of the country, greetings thousands of visitors from all over the world every day. The temple, located in the center of the vast walled city, Angkor Thom, is nestled among vast acres of trees – the lush and beautiful Cambodian jungle.

Here we are on the eastern side of Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat complex is still daily occupied by nature, a lot of trees which last more than 100 years, and a lot of wildlife. There you still even see monkeys, surrounding the piles of fruits in the baskets being sold by local kids there.

Angkor Wat was constructed by the Hindu King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century and continued for four centuries. The plan of Angkor Wat includes a design that was typical of the Khmer Empire’s state temples, the temple mountain. That is, the temple resembles Mount Meru, home of the Hindu gods. There are five towers, one on each of the four corners plus one in the middle. They symbolize Mount Meru’s five peaks.

Intricate carvings on the sandstone create a splendid vision. The temple stands on a raised terrace higher than the rest of the city. There are three rectangular galleries, with each one on a level higher than the previous one. The stairs leading up towards the central tower, the highest point of the temple, are also steep and high. They remind the climber that the ascent toward the heavenly realm and enlightenment is difficult. Let’s now go to the highest shrine of Angkor Wat with our friendly Cambodian native tour guide.

We are standing on the highest shrine of Angkor Wat, called Bakan which symbolizes Hindu mythological Mount Meru appearing with five towers, four at the corners, one in the actual center.

Here, we are on the northern side of the central sanctuary, which originally probably sheltered a statue of the god Vishnu, with the center for pilgrimage, that’s why the opening door central sanctuary has been walled in sandstone with a relief of a standing Buddha with one right hand facing forward, the manner of peace, and more Buddha statues including the reclining one there, enshrined in there. And there, further you still see original wooden beams and all there.

If you move to that right hand side there, you see one of the four ponds. Here the majority was full of Buddhist statues being enshrined. Look at this one, a Buddha seated on the naga, seven-headed serpent.

Here we are on the difference part of Angkor Wat it’s duly called Gallery of a Thousand Buddhas. When in the 16th century it was converted to the Buddhist one, then a thousand of Buddha’s statues have been enshrined here. Most of them have been later conserve and retained in museums, some have been lost forever.

The Gallery of a Thousand Buddhas continues to be a place for people to come pay homage to the Buddha. Theraveda Buddhism has been the state religion of Cambodia since the 13the century. However, Angkor Wat was originally a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Besides Angkor Wat, there are other glorious monuments in Angkor Thom, the once great capital city of the Khmer Empire established by King Jayavarman VII.

At the center is the king’s state temple, Bayon. The Bayon Temple is located to the north of Angkor Wat, and has 51 towers around it. Built around 1190 by King Jayavarman VII, Bayon is a Buddhist temple but has Hindu cosmological elements.

By being at the center of the walled city, it symbolizes the point where Heaven meets the Earth. Built as a square, the sides of temple run exactly north-south and east-west. The Bayon Temple is famous for its large stone faces of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. All the 51 towers around it has four faces as well, benevolently gazing upon humankind in the different directions.

Here we are on the eastern entrance of Bayon, the main entrance. Bayon temple, with many faces, towers, was built under the reign of the Buddhist King Jayavarman VII. Dated in late 12 beginning of 13th century, Angkor Thom, the great capital city, was the main one populated with about one million people, compared to the English in London in the same days – about 50,000.

And the temple itself, with 49 towers of four faces, domed with lotus openings, and if you look at the decoratives ornamentation, which built with the naga balustrades, lion statues, which symbolize the heavenly causeway.

You see the tower with four faces, with the symbols of the faces of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, compassionate god, and also the symbol of the king’s faces, and the king who gives four virtues: loving kindness, equanimity, sympathy, and compassion, to the people in the royal territory of the four directions; and domed with lotus openings, symbolizes the great knowledge of Buddha.

Here we are on the northern side of Bayon, the temple with four faces. You look at the temples there, where you see how big and well decorated (are the) religious Buddhist temples, proving that the King Jayavarman VII, the ruler of the Khmer Empire at that time would be a very powerful king.

When we return, we’ll explore some of the other fascinating sites in the Angkor area of Cambodia. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Thank you for joining us again on today’s The World Around Us. We now continue our visit to some of the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor, Cambodia.

Ta Prohm is unlike most of the other temples of Angkor, Cambodia. It has become one with the living jungle. The trees, called “spung,” have embraced the temple halls with its roots. It is the result of having been untouched for centuries. Originally, Ta Prohm was built in filial dedication to the mother of King Jayavarman VII.

Here we are in Ta Prohm Temple, means old Brahma, original name found on inscription in Sanskrit on sides call Rajavihara, means royal monastery, founded under the reign of the Buddhist king Jayavarman VII in 1186, five years after the royal coronation and dedicated to the royal mother, enshrining the statues in the central sanctuaries oriented to the east.

Here we are on one of the famous spots. There you look at that side, you see the big tree, spung. It was the spot where the famous Hollywood made a film here. That’s why most of the local and foreign tourists, they wish to come to see the jungle temple here, and always look for this spot.

There are many other temples at Angkor. Our tour today ends with one of them, the first major temple built in the Angkor area: Phnom Bakheng. Phnom Bakheng is King Yasovarman I’s state temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva. It was built more than two centuries before Angkor Wat when the capital of the Khmer Empire was moved from Roluos to Angkor in the late 9th century.

At the moment, here we are on the top of Phnom Bakheng. Phnom means mountain, Bakheng is the name of this one. A temple on the top of this mountain was built more than a thousand years ago, dated in 889 to 910 AD under the reign of the Hindu King Yasovarman I who built this temple as the center of the royal capital city called Yasodharapura.

Yasod is the name of the king, harapura means capital city, first monument in Angkor here. The king built the temple on top there on the natural mountain, basic foundation in natural mountain, laterite, meaning lava stone, and the sandstone on top.

Other temples use laterite and earthfill for their construction. However, the foundation is carved from the existing natural rocks.

The temple itself was built in the center of the royal capital city which occupy the land area of 16 square kilometers. This Hindu temple (has a) very different architecture comparatively to the neighboring Angkor Wat there, and to the great capital city Bayon temple there, and much older than those as well.

By the late 16th century, this Hindu temple, and center of the capital city, had been later converted into the Buddhist temple. Lately, this temple has been really familiar to local and foreign tourists to come and see the surrounding views: Angkor Wat appearing in the jungle on the southeast corner of this temple, including the artificial lake, West Baray, 808 kilometers by 2.2 kilometers on the western side directly from this monument as well, with an island temple in the center.

And this temple is really famous for viewing the sunset. That’s why here we are to see these surroundings and also the famous spot for viewing the sunset as well, with thousands of local and foreign tourists holding cameras to take pictures of beautiful sights in the surrounding.

Like Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng is a temple mountain, resembling Mount Meru, home of the Hindu gods, and its multiple peaks. Phnom Bakheng has other elements of Hindu cosmology as well. For example, it has seven levels: the ground, five tiers, and the upper terrace. These represent the seven heavens of Hindu mythology.

Originally, there were 108 small towers all arrayed about the temple at ground level, although most of them no longer stand. These represented parts of Mount Meru, while 108 is a cosmologically significant number in Hinduism and Buddhism.

The small towers were placed so symmetrically that when viewing the temple from the center of any side, only 33 towers can be seen. Thirty-three is also the number of gods who lived on Mount Meru. By the late 16th century, Phnom Bakheng became a Buddhist temple.

King Jayavarman VII once said that his construction of temples sprang from an intention that was “full of deep sympathy for the good of the world, so as to bestow on men the ambrosia of remedies to win them immortality…. By virtue of these good works would that I might rescue all those who are struggling in the ocean of existence.”

Indeed, devout Cambodians as well as respectful international tourists come to these temples to reflect on the stories of the Angkor temples. In their grand design full of ancient cosmological symbols, we can ponder the place and purpose of humanity in the universe.

And in their ornate sculptures and statues, we think of the beings of Heaven, of the Buddha. May the unique temples of Angkor in Cambodia be honored for many more centuries to come.

It was a pleasure having your company today on The World Around Us. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television for Words of Wisdom, up next after Noteworthy News. May Heaven bless you and your loved ones with inner peace.
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