World's Oldest Artificial Island? The Mystery of Angkor Wat - Part I | Praveen Mohan
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Hey guys, today we're going to see the world's largest religious structure. When people ask: "What is the largest religious structure in the world?" People generally think it would be a church or a mosque. but no, it is a Hindu Temple, but it's not located in India it's located in Cambodia. And this is not a recent structure either, it was built many many centuries ago. And this is very big, so let us go take a look and see how it looks.
I am at the temple's parking lot and I am leaving my bike here, this is very strange because I don't see any temple towers at all. I have visited a lot of temples, and when I usually park my car or bike, I will see the temple towers, but I don't see the towers of Angkor Wat temple. I am confused about this. Why is this happening? The authorities tell me that I have to walk for nearly 10 minutes before I start seeing the temple towers. First, I have to cross this massive lake, you see this lake, it is huge, I cannot even see the land on the other side, and it is in the way of the temple. I walk for nearly 5 minutes, and then I observe something very strange. I look on the banks of the lake, and I am shocked. Even though the banks are completely covered with bushes and trees, I can see neatly cut, giant rectangular stone blocks, aligned all around the bank. This is NOT a natural lake. This is an artificial water body called moat, created by ancient builders. I mean this is extraordinary, how were they able to create such a large moat, which almost looks like a lake? See this is why I had to park my bike outside the moat, the moat completely surrounds the temple on all four sides. And how big is this moat? Normally, when we talk about manmade structures, we use units like feet or meters, but this is the largest structure in the world, these units are too small, we have to use Kilometers and miles for this one. The moat stretches for 1.3 kilometers from South to North, and 1.5 Kilometers from East to West. So it is approximately 1 mile each way and it completely surrounds the temple on all four sides with a perimeter of a whopping Five and a half kilometers, that is about three and a half miles.
My first thought is, how could they dig such a moat with human hands? According to historians, this was created at least 900 years ago with no more than digging sticks, spades and shovels. And experts claim it was built in just a few years. How is this possible? May be this moat was possible because it is only one or two feet deep, this would have reduced the amount of manual work. It looks like lake because we see it from the land, but maybe it is only 1 or 2 feet deep, we can't see the depth of it from the outside.
I am very curious to find the depth of the moat, so I walk around the moat to see if I could find more evidence. Most people you see are tourists, so I need to find Cambodians who work here, so they can give me authentic information about its depth.
And then, I see something crazy. People are using boats in this moat! These people are working in Angkor Wat temple complex and they actually have several boats which go around the moat every day, and they clean out unwanted plants. They take a long stick and keep swirling it in the water, and watch how many plants comes out of the water. They tell me that the moat is 12 to 25 feet deep, this is an astounding depth, and to dig a moat of this magnitude, with such depth is just insane.
Imagine digging an artificial lake which stretches for one mile each way that is 12 to 25 feet deep, 900 years ago. And some experts will argue that ancient people of Cambodia were barbarians, so they captured millions of slaves, and they forced them to dig this moat with brute force. But this moat was not constructed crudely or hastily, it was built with perfection in mind, the workers must have been talented artisans, not unskilled slaves. How did they construct such a giant structure, which still fools most of the tourists into believing that they are looking at a beautiful natural lake? How did they arrange giant stone blocks all around the moat, both on the outer side, and on the inner side, creating a perfect architecture. If we look carefully, we can see the stone steps going into the water, as far as we can see. How deep do these stone steps go?
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