You couldn’t believe your luck when an astrologer found the constellation Draco (the dragon) appearing in the Angkor sky area and a silhouette of the dragon appearing on the Angkor area ground. (Weirdly enough, the vast majority of the Angkor temples do line up along the shape of Draco, see the above illustration).
(Full disclosure - these demons are at Angkor Thom but the ones at Angkor Wat are too damaged for illustrative purposes).
On the other side of the moat is the temple complex, carefully designed by your architects so that when measured in ‘hat’, the ancient Khmer unit of measure, the symmetry corresponded with the timeline of the Hindu ages and as a map or calendar of the universe.
Finally, you would design it in three levels – the first to represent the underworld. The picture to the right is a fragment of the enormous bas relief that depicts the epic battle in the underworld between Hanuman, the Monkey God and Ravana, the Demon King when Hanuman was sent by Rama to rescue Sita, Ram's wife, kidnapped by Ravana.
The second level represents the human world and the third, reachable by the Stairway to Heaven (photo below - and, bloody steep it is, too!) would hold the shrine to Vishnu and, coincidentally, your sarcophagus when you shuffled off your mortal coil.
And, because it was to be your mausoleum you would design it as the only Angkor monument that opens to the West, the direction of Death (all other Angkor monuments are either temples or monasteries).
Finally, you would have been really pissed, when, after throwing money and people at it for 37 years (it’s estimated that 300,000 people worked on the site), you popped your clogs and your successor didn't finish it.
After Angkor Wat, we had an afternoon in Siem Riep visiting a local Apsara (the traditional Cambodian dance) dance school and followed it with a local stone-and-wood carving establishment where we watched the skilled craftsmen reproduce the classic Angkor images in sandstone, marble and teak. I'll set up separate pages for all the cultural stuff as and when I'm able.
Coming next: I have a 'Lara Croft, Tomb Raider' Moment