New Delhi: The Indian traveler has found a new destination in 2011. It happens to be Cambodia. It is an unexpected destination but has emerged as a favorite holiday spot for Indian tourists who have begun to arrive in Cambodia in record numbers. So, what is attracting them?
Cambodia is attracting Indian attention because of easy access by air, proximity to India and most importantly, a common cultural platform. Siem Reap, the Cambodian city is attracting planeloads of Indians every week. Siem Reap, the capital city of Siem Reap province, has a rich heritage of temples dedicated to Hindu deities. The presence of these numerous Hindu temples is reason enough to keep the Indian vacationer occupied for days. Apart from the temples, Siem Reap offers a full spectrum of other attractions that can indulge even the least adventurous traveler from India.
The most famous temple in the Siem Reap province is the Angkor Wat Temple. It is a surviving symbol of the influence of Hinduism in Cambodia. Indian Hindu myths and legends are gracefully depicted on temple walls. It was constructed at the behest of King Suryavarman II in the early twelfth century. The temple attests to a significant influence of Dravidian-style temple architecture and is an excellent example of Khmer architecture. It is recognized as a UN World Heritage Site and attracts tourists from all over the world.
Other Temples in Siem Reap
Apart from Angkor Wat, Siem Reap is the site for many other famous Indian temples dedicated to Hindu deities. Phnom Bakheng is a temple dedicated to Shiva Brahmanism. It is also called the temple mountain as it is constructed in the fashion of Mount Meru, a sacred mountain in Hindu mythology. Similarly, the Bakong temple also represents the cosmic forces of mount Meru.
Beng Mealeal is a temple which is situated at a distance of 77 kilometers from Siem Reap. The most attractive feature of this temple is its depiction of scenes from Hindu mythology, including the life and times of Lord Vishnu. The Kravan temple was built in 921 AD by King Harshavarman who was in power at that time. The temple is dedicated to Vishnu Brahmanism and is best known for its incredible brick sculptures. The temple features five towers with carvings of Vishnu and Lakshmi that open to the east.
Tourist Activities for Indians in Cambodia
In addition to remarkable ancient Indian temples, Siem Reap presents several tourist attractions. Siem Reap features a museum called the ‘Angkor National Museum’, which showcases the rich history of Khmer culture. Culinary classes, which include a visit to a Cambodian family and information on Cambodian cooking practices are also attracting tourists. A classical Indian dance show at the Apsara Theatre or a vibrant massage session can also rejuvenate the tourists. The Cambodian massage style is much like Thai massage. However, it is believed to be more relaxing. For the really adventurous, a visit to one of the Shooting ranges or a Quad drive to explore the heart of Cambodia is recommended.
Siem Reap International Airport is the second largest airport in Cambodia and is serviced by several airlines, including Air Asia, Asiana Airlines, Bangkok Airways and Jetstar Asia. Accommodation in Siem Reap is easily available. Hotels are available across the province, which range from as low as US $7 to US $2,200 per night. These hotels offer a wide range of continental cuisine which makes it a Foodie’s Paradise. Visit the Cambodian Government’s official Tourism website at TourismCambodia.org to find interesting facts and information that can help in planning a Cambodian vacation.