- Rosalia de Castro
Wat Attvea is a realtively unknown temple to the south of Siem Reap, Cambodia. It was built around the 12th century although the lack of inscriptions makes it very dificult to date this site accurately. It is a Hindu temple and it consists of a laterite square wall with four Gopuras and the temple itself. Like Angkor Wat, this temple is west oriented (a very rare feature in Khmer architecture- apart from these two temples all the other Angkor temples face the rising sun) and the western Gopura is larger than the other three. A causeway connects the entrance with the main sanctuary, a cross shaped shrine with a porch on each side and a tower. The shrine, on top of a platform has a door to the West. Four sandstone shrines can be found at the corners of the complex. Some experts believe that the temple was left unfinished as some of the carvings have been abandoned half way through their composition.
Wat Attvea is located at about 5.3 kilometers south of Siem Reap along the route 63 (about ten minutes by car or Tuk Tuk). Although most of the visitors to Cambodia skip this little beautiful temple, it is worth combining it with a visit to the Roluos Group temples, or a visit to the Tonle Sap lake. This temple is best visited in the late afternoon when the chantings of the monks in Buddhist monastery nearby surround the site with a mystic aura.
"This little beautiful temple is a reflexion of the Cambodian soul. You can walk to the nearby Buddhist monastery for a friendly chat with and a blessing from the monks."
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