The single largest religious monuments in the world, Angkor Wat literally means “the City which is a Temple.” Built during the 12th century by King Suryavarman II (r.1113–50), this spectacular complex was originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, the Protector of Creation. The layout is based on a mandala or sacred design of the Hindu cosmos. A five- towered temple shaped like a lotus bud and representing Mount Meru, the mythical abode of the gods and the center of the uni verse, stands in the middle of the complex. The outer walls represent the edge of the world, and the moat is the cosmic ocean. Especially outstand ing are the intricate carvings that adorn the walls, including a 1,970-ft (600-m) panel of bas-reliefs and around 2,000 engravings of apsaras or celestial dancing girls with enig matic smiles. Angkor Wat, unusually among Khmer temples, faces west and toward the setting sun, a symbol of death.