The Khmer Empire in Ancient Thailand
Icon of Khmer civilization, Angkor Wat in Cambodia endures as a revered religious shrine.
A watery path leads to the West Mebon temple on an artificial island in the West Baray. Only fragments remain of the temple’s former centerpiece, a magnificent 20-foot-long bronze statue of the reclining Hindu god Vishnu.
Monsoon clouds spill rain into the Srah Srang reservoir. Its guardians included lions and flame-shaped nagas, spirits trusted to bring rain. By the 16th century power shifted from Angkor toward Phnom Penh after a period of erratic monsoons.]]>
The meditative face atop the Victory Gate at Angkor Thom likely depicts Jayavarman VII, whose rule (1181 to circa 1215) raised Angkor to a peak of wealth and power. His military successes extended Khmer rule across much of Southeast Asia.]]>
Only kings and high priests could worship atop the hill temple of Phnom Bakheng. Now reverent silence reigns only after closing time. Sunset-viewing tourists crowd onto the platform in numbers that cause structural damage.]]>

Gamblers gather for a cockfight. A crocodile hunts for fish. A war canoe advances. Carvings at the Bayon temple record events large and small from Angkor's past.
Illuminated at night, a lotus bud-shaped tower gleams at Angkor Wat.

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