Cambodia’s Wonder: The Mysteries of Angkor Wat
When you’ve traveled a lot like I have, some of the world’s most powerful spiritual destinations may linger in your consciousness long after you’ve forgotten various streets and shops. Winchester Cathedral is one of these for me, as is Machu Picchu. Another place like this that gets burned into your brain is the deep peace and architectural wonder that is Cambodia’s Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat is believed to have been built as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god, Vishnu. It was thought to represent Mount Meru, the Himalayan home of the gods in Hindu mythology. Over time, the religious beliefs of the local people, the Khmer, shifted and the temple was converted to a Buddhist temple. Today Angkor Wat is considered one of the most important archeological sites in Southeast Asia and is still a powerfully important religious site for the Cambodian people. It’s also one of the largest religious sites in the world in addition to being one of the most mysterious.
While there are no scientifically proven healing properties associated with this important location, many visitors report feeling a sense of deep peace or even transformation when visiting Angkor Wat. Though instruments may not be able to measure any kind of force fields, etc., what people are experiencing may be attributed to several unsolved mysteries that are at the heart of this enigmatic structure. These mysteries include the following:
1) How was Angkor Wat built? Even though the structures were erected over 900 years ago, experts still don’t understand how the complex was constructed. The site is made of massive stone structures covering more than 500 acres and includes intricate carvings in huge stone blocks plus elaborate hydraulic systems that manage water flow from nearby reservoirs. How was this accomplished without modern technology and machines? No one really knows.
2) What do the carvings mean? The walls of Angkor Wat seem to be covered with carved events from Hindu mythology and the Khmer empire, yet experts continue to debate about what these carvings mean and why they are here. The images represented in the carvings are baffling even to historians.
3) What led to the collapse of the Khmer empire? Angkor Wat persists, yet the mighty Khmer civilization that ruled much of Cambodia, and parts of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand for several centuries was on a downhill slope in the 14th and 15th centuries and finally collapsed completely in the 1500’s. What caused its demise? Historians are hard pressed to understand what factors contributed to the destruction of this once powerful empire.
4) What’s underneath? Even though archaeologists have studied this site for decades, most believe they have only scratched the surface and an enormous wealth of secrets lie directly under the temple complex including possibly older temples, additional hydraulic systems, much older artifacts, and even underground tunnels leading to whole new destinations. As archeological methods continue to advance, future discoveries may shed some light on the many mysteries of Angkor Wat listed above. Still, for now, the site remains a sphinx-like puzzle that defies experts’ best guesses when it comes to what this site really is and what it means.
Now that you know a bit more about what experts don’t know about Angkor Wat, aren’t you excited to explore it too? If yes, the Mekong Princess is standing by to help you visit this extraordinary place in addition traveling the Mekong River so you can see firsthand how people have lived for centuries in this richly biodiverse region. Or let us plan a custom trip for you that includes one of the lovely 4- or 5-star hotels waiting for you in Siem Reap, the town closest to this ancient site.
At Wild Nectar, our expert planners can help you join an expedition, travel with a small group, or set out on your own on a custom adventure. Contact us and we’ll help you delve into these mysteries and feel the deep peace of Angkor Wat for yourself.