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Angkor Wat – Symbols and Illusions

In the half-lane of this city (Angkor Thom) is the temple of Angkor Wat, whose design can not be described with a pen. His refinement surpasses all that the human genius can imagine.
Recorded by Diego to Kuto, the official chronicler of Portuguese India, according to a Capuchin monk who visited Angkor in 1585-1588.

Creating the world’s largest religious buildings – the temple of Angkor Wat – from the very beginning involves the use of the mass of a variety of illusions and symbols. They can be said to have formed its basis, becoming an integral part of it. For example, we will find symbols in its layout, an illusion in architecture … And the basis of its popular modern history is myth.

Temples of Cambodia. Angkor Wat

The symbol of the mandala. In accordance with the Hindu canons, according to which Angkor Wat is built, each visitor passed through a huge mandala – a model of the Universe. Her role was played by the very layout of the temple, where the outer perimeter reflected the Universe of that time, and the central inner tower was the world of the gods, unattainable for mere mortals. The passage to it symbolized the crossing of the World Ocean or the Ganges River, overcoming the Himalayas, a long way through the worlds of demons, people, demigods, until finally a huge central tower, a symbol of Mount Meru, grew up in front of the pilgrim. And she, indeed, was unattainable: only the king and the high priest of the temple, who were equated to the gods, had access to it.

Optical illusion. During the construction of Angkor Vata, its architects used several successful techniques that allowed them to “present” the temple in the best possible way. The most spectacular is the change in proportions between the levels of the central towers. Each subsequent level of the ancient masters moved a little closer to the previous one, approximately in the same ratio, reducing the diameter of the level itself. This led to the appearance of a false perspective of the space around the towers. Simply put, thanks to this technique, the already gigantic Angkor Wat seems even more.

The myth of the lost. He is certainly handsome, but, alas, he has nothing to do with historical truth. Built in the 12th century, initially Hindu Angkor Wat in the following centuries passed into the hands of Buddhist monks who never left it and protected it from the jungle. Moreover, part of the famous bas-reliefs of the temple was not created in the XII, but in the XVI century, during a little-known sluggish attempt to reanimate Angkor as the capital of the kingdom of Cambodia.

This is only part of the illusions and myths of Angkor Vata. There are also myths about his appearance, there are legends frozen in his bas-reliefs, there is an illusion that the temple before us, and not Indra’s barn, is, after all, mythical and illusory times flowing in it … Penetrate its myths, illusions and Symbols – an interesting and difficult task. How interesting and not simple is Angkor Wat, the Temple City.

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