Campaign Chunk Volume 11.10 – Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat, correctly known as Prasat Angkor Wat, is the largest religious monument in the world. Located in northern Cambodia, Angkor Wat covers an area of 1,626,000 m2 or 402 acres.
Originally constructed in the early 12th century as a temple to the Hindu god Vishnu, it became a Buddhist temple around the end of the century. The modern name, Angkor Wat, means “Temple City” or “City of Temples” in Khmer. It was designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology.
As well as being the largest religious complex/monument in the world, Angkor Wat is famous for having more than 3000 beguiling apsaras, or heavenly nymphs, carved into its walls. Stretching around the outside of the central temple complex is an 800m-long series of intricate bas-reliefs. These depict a mixture of mythological stories and events from history.
It is surrounded by a 190m-wide moat, which forms a giant rectangle measuring 1.5km by 1.3km. From the west, a sandstone causeway crosses the moat. This western entrance is a 235m-wide porch richly decorated with carvings and sculptures
Angkor Wat is built from sandstone, which was quarried from the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen, which is located more than 50km away. According to the aforementioned inscriptions, the construction and movement of all these blocks took 300,000 workers and 6000 elephants.
Although restoration on the site didn’t begin until around 1908, it was in 1992 that the location became officially recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This helped to deal with the growing numbers of tourists, which was at around 7000 a year in the early ’90s to over 2 million in 2012. A percentage of income from the tourist trade goes towards preserving the site and has helped the local economy as well.
Hooks & Rumours
- Although there is only a small amount of damage done annually, for some reason in the last few weeks, there has been a marked and noticeable increase in the amount of graffiti occurring. Most of it is gibberish, but a few scholars have said it resembles an ancient dialect once spoken in the area.
- A project is underway to help restore Angkor Wat to as close as possible to it would have been when it was first built, using modern methods and techniques to show the word how it would have been and it’s height. However, as the site is an active religious location some are protesting that they would have nowhere else to go and the disruption would take decades, as the restoration crew would have to be slow and methodical to prevent damage. As of yet, it is just a debate, but many restoration firms are putting in bids to the project.
- One of the monks was kidnapped early one morning by a group of masked and armed people who stormed one of the temples. As of yet, there has been no ransom note, but rumours are saying that the one kidnapped is the child of a wealthy drug baron who shunned his father to become a monk.
Volume 10 of the compiled and updated Campaign Chunks is available at DrivethruRPG.com