Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

Angkor Wat, near Siem Reap, Cambodia, is the largest religious monument ever constructed.  Originally built by  Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as a Hindu temple to the god Vishnu, it morphed a Buddhist temple by the 14th century.  The five towers of  central temple represent the peaks of Mt. Meru, the mythical home of both Hindu and Buddhist gods.  A series of galleries, terraces and steep stairways symbolised the effort needed to achieve enlightenment or reach heaven. Three sets of stairs on each side, one in the center and two on the corners, give access to the upper terraces and galleries of the center temple.  Often called the “stairway to heaven,”  the steps rise at a 70% grade.

When I visited Angkor Wat in 2006, one of the stairways on the south side had a handrail—the others required free climbing. Since that time, all but one of the staircases have been closed and access to the central tower is limited to 100 visitors a day.  The south set of steps is now covered by a wooden staircase with handrails. Maybe now I would go to the top. I wasn’t drawn to the steep climb when I was there.

 

Join Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge: Steps

Categories:

architecture, Asia, Explore

7 Comments

Weather I think we are used to it.. Too much crowd will be problem most of times. But rains sometimes put of the restrictions on travel.. 🙂

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