3 Cool Things (You Might Not Know) About Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat Cambodia

(Full-size imageAerial view of complex / Corresponding newsletter)

This majestic temple complex is the commonly considered the world's largest religious monument. Angkor Wat is modeled after the Hindu conceptual framework of the universe, from its overall layout to the imagery of the many intricate carvings.

Flag of Cambodia1. Mountains beyond mountains: The 5 big towers represent Mount Meru, which in Hindu tradition is the home of the gods. Their distinct shapes appear on the Cambodian flag. Closer look: There are only 3 towers on the flag - the towers are laid out like the 5 dots on the die (formally known as a quincunx) and from the front, the back 2 towers are hidden. The big photo is taken from off-center, so you can see all 5 towers.

Angkor Wat Close Up

2. Reverse, reverse: From big factors like the physical layout to the small details of the carvings, so many aspects of Angkor Wat have significance (similar to the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona). For example, unlike other similar temples which face east, Angkor Wat faces west, towards the sunset. The incredible carvings, rich with imagery, tell a story. However, the Angkor Wat is unusual is that the narrative progresses counterclockwise instead of clockwise. These factors suggest to scholars that Angkor Wat is a funerary temple.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider Logo3. Action: Part of Lara Croft's (Angelina Jolie) adventure leads to Angkor Wat, which was among the filming locations for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. See for yourself, check out a video clip. Artist Binh Danh (Stanford MFA, '04) uses innovative photographic methods (such as printing photos onto the chlorophyll of leaves) to explore Angkor Wat and Cambodia's political past.

Thank you for your support!

Note: Ever wonder how art could be useful to you? Check out a new article "10 Things Art Can Do For You."

All images, videos, and articles are linked to their respective sources. Elements of this post were also drawn from the following: