Time line The temples of Angkor Wat were built in the Angkor period. It was a significant period in Cambodian history as the Khmer empire consolidated itself as one of the great powers of the South –East Asian region. The period covers more than 600 years, from 802 – 1432. These temples were built in the city of Angkor Thom
The temples wee originally built as places of Hindu worship. Many of the Bas-reliefs tell the stories of battles with foreign invaders, worship of Hindu gods and daily life in Cambodia.
Jungle Temples After several invasions from foreign countries and a weakening of the Khmer Empire, the temples of Angkor were over-run by the jungle. Sandstone has eroded and the structures have become weak. Bat droppings have also significantly damaged the temples. The Khmer Rouge damaged large parts of the temples – decapitating the Hindu gods etc. General pilfering has also taken its toll.
Restoration Many countries are contributing to the expensive task of restoring the temples. Countries such as France, Japan and the United States have undertaken significant projects to restore the temples. It is a costly and slow process. A process which the Cambodian people are most supportive of asthey are very proud of their temples.
Angkor’s 100 or more temples are a part of a complex devoted to religious worship. It is the larges area of land devoted to religious worship in the world. Each temple and structure reveals a significant religious practice or aspect of the way of life at the time of the Angkor period.