If any country in historic times had matched India in its faith in Hinduism, it was perhaps Cambodia. In this war torn Buddhist monarchy, which has met many tragedies in recent times, you find that coronation is complete only with the handing over of ancient gold idols of Shiva and Vishnu by the rajaguru to the king. More than a hundred temples, mostly in a state of ruin, tell the story of the great empire of the Khmers, who worshipped Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma and the Buddha. It is here in Cambodia that Suryavarman built his truly colossal temple dedicated to Vishnu — Angkor Wat, believed by million of visitors, to be most worthy of being included in the Seven Wonders of the world. Angkor Wat, the largest stone temple for any deity in the world, has a nearly 2.7 km circumambulatory passage with gigantic carvings devoted to the epic stories of the churning of the ocean, Ramayana, Mahabharata and so on. Certain parts of southeast Asia, including the southern Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam were dominated by the Hindu culture during the reigns of Sri Vijaya Empire, Sailendra, Majapahit, Khemer, Angkor, Sukothai and Champa Empires from the 1st to the 16th centuries. Some aspects of Hindu culture, for instance the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, have thrived in those regions to the present day. Cambodians love for Ramayan, gave to mankind Angkor Wat, probably the world’s largest religious monument ever constructed. Built in the 12th century in Cambodia, it is a renowned Hindu temple complex famous for having the longest running bas-relief (sculpture in which the design projects slightly from a flat background, but without any part being totally detached from the background) in the world. Beautifully crafted, many of the carvings were once painted and gilded. They decorate the 2-m high, galleried walls having roofed walkways that run along the inside of the protective moat, just outside of the temple complex itself. The reliefs depict scenes from the Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the puranic lore of the Hindu gods Shiva and Vishnu, historical episodes in the life of King Suryavarman II, celestial nymphs known as apsarases, and scenes from the daily life of the Khmer people at the time the complex was built. Today Angkor is recognized as one of the world’s most valuable cultural sites and as a national symbol of Cambodia. In 1992 Angkor was designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The site covers some 400 sq km (200 sq mi).