NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 28 April, 8.30pm

Hidden deep in the impenetrable jungles of Cambodia, the mighty temple of Angkor Wat is a humbling representation of the Hindu universe. A usurper king who seizes the throne by murdering his great uncle, King Suryavarman II seeks to justify his absolute power over the enormous Khmer Empire with a towering monument to the Hindu god Vishnu. Angkor Wat will also serve as the new king’s personal mausoleum, and be his personal heaven for the afterlife. Suryavarman’s vision is one of staggering ambition. The largest of the five huge towers soars 65m into the sky, surrounded by a network of concentric courtyards, causeways and outbuildings, all guarded by an enormous 200 m wide moat. Experts estimate workers must cut and transport at least 300 blocks of sandstone weighing from three to fifteen tonnes every day to ensure the temple is completed in Suryavarman’s lifetime. Completed in a staggering thirty-five years, Angkor Wat remains one of the largest and most awe-inspiring religious monuments ever built.

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