Built by the Khmers between 802 and 1220 AD, the ancient temples of Angkor Wat exist as the remaining relics of a historically and religiously rich city. While many other historical and religious structures in Cambodia have disappeared due in part from being constructed out of vulnerable materials like wood, Angkor Wat still remains as a symbol of the divinity of its former kings, as well as for the palace itself. Likewise, Indonesia’s Borodubur temples exist as the single remaining structures of the city. The temples of Angkor Wat and Borodubur hold several similarities within architecture and symbolism, both being heavily based on religious belief. However, different features within both structures, architecturally and symbolically, distinguish and provide insight into the individual cultures.
Significance of Hinduism, Astronomy, and Cosmology In Angkor Wat Architecture
With Hinduism serving as the prevailing religion of Cambodia, the temples of Angkor Wat serve as a visual bridge between the terrestrial plane and the spiritual one. The temples of Ankgor Wat uses architectural features in order represent various ideas of Hindu Cosmology; “The walls, moats, central sanctuary, entrances, pyramidal temples and bridges with naga balustrades, and monuments such as the Neak Pean, or Bayon,” all contribute to the re-creation of the heavenly world on Earth. By re-creating this, Earth and the heavenly world are entwined; creating a bond between the two worlds that allows humanity to flourish. In constructing Angkor Wat to represent religious beliefs, the Khmer people literally built heaven on Earth. By creating a tangible representation of what is believed to have happened in the past, the past becomes more real and more concrete to viewers and believers alike.
In order to honor the Hindu God Vishnu, Suryavaram II built Angkor Wat during the early years of the 12th century, around 1150 B.C. Structurally, the central building of Angkor Wat is serves as a