“Temples of Angkor” in Cambodia have topped the Ultimate Travelist compiled by Lonely Planet (LP), which it described as “Hindu heaven on earth”.
According to an LP release, “this complex of more than 1,000 temples, shrines and tombs that form a virtual city of spires in the jungles of northern Cambodia, takes the crown” and it “was the undisputed champion by quite some margin… it was a complete landslide”.
Others in the top ten of the 500 best places to see on the planet, ranked by this Travelist “in order of their brilliance”, include: Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Machu Picchu (Peru), Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal (India), Grand Canyon National Park (USA), Colosseum (Italy), Iguazu Falls (Brazil-Argentina), Alhambra (Spain), Aya Sofya (Turkey).
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Hindus world over, numbering around one billion, were very proud and delighted on Hindu Temples of Angkor topping the Ultimate Travelist.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that a lot needed to be done to safeguard the Angkor temple complex and its surroundings and deteriorating bas-reliefs; save it from vandalism and looting; put some controls on unchecked tourism; check the demand for water table which could undermine the stability of sandy soils under the temples.
Rajan Zed also urged UNESCO World Heritage Convention and Cambodia government to provide more funding for the upkeep of the temple complex and spend more than half the ticket revenue on the temples.
LP points out about Angkor: As the world’s greatest temple to the Hindu god Vishnu…this magnificent monument is the greatest treasure of a Hindu kingdom that once stretched as far as Burma, Laos and southern China… Angkor is something out of the ordinary – a literal representation of heaven on earth, hewn from thousands of sandstone blocks and carved floor-to-ceiling with legends from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas.
LP adds: Angkor Wat itself is the undisputed highlight, a massive representation of Mt Meru, the mountain home of the gods of Hinduism, executed in stone blocks adorned with bas-reliefs of such delicacy and grace that they could almost have been carved in the presence of the divine… Angkor isn’t just an interesting ruin – it’s a spiritual epiphany in stone.
Founded in 1973 and headquartered in Oakland (USA), LP claims to be “world’s leading travel authority”.