Some countries have special legacies of old civilizations, & these become places of interest for the tourists. One such place is, the historical site of the temples of Angkor in Cambodia, covering an area of 77 sq. miles. These monuments in Angkor, are believed to have been built between 9 th & 15 th centuries. They have architectural beauty, depict the Khmer art & rich cultural history, & are fit for being called one of the wonders of the world. With most of the sites of the large variety of different sizes of these ancient temples now cleared & approachable, the visit to this place is worth the effort.
Details of Angkor are provided in 308 pages of this book in its three parts, with the help of 72 illustrations & 30 maps. Part one covers geographical setting; historical background; a history of restoration efforts at Angkor; religion; Khmer art & architecture of the Angkor period. Part two gives details of each of the ten groups of the monuments, with detailed maps & plans. Part three provides practical information, starting with general details like climate, time, currency, travel agents, customs, security etc., & details of hotels (for deluxe, mid-price, & budget), restaurants, banks, transport, tourists highlights for the two cities viz. Phnom Penh & Siem Reap, for staying & going around. These are followed by three appendices, recommendation for further reading, foot notes, glossary & index.
On various pages it provides, four literary excerpts, 7 maps & 24 temple diagrams. The details of the various monuments (in part two of the book) generally provide details of location, access, date of construction, King, religion & art style, all contained in a box. This is followed by further details of the background, architectural plan, symbolism, layout & details in various galleries. In Khmer art, Vishnu, the popular Hindu God, has been depicted widely in sculpture etc., with several of his avatars. Shiva is another popular Hindu God depicted here. Among Goddesses depicted here are Devi, Ganga, Lakshmi & Parvati. Ramayana & Buddha are represented in Khmer art. Various types of building materials were used initially. Some amount of restoration & reconstruction has been done, while some parts have been left, in as is condition, which show the quantum of damage & erosion, over the period of time. This book has a beautiful cover, a large number of coloured photos, historical overview & practical information. It serves as a good guide for the tourists coming to Cambodia, esp. for its cultural sites.