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WAT PHNOM (WAT PHNOM DAUN PENH)
The Wat Phnom temple is the most significant of all the temples in Phnom Penh.
The Temple has a close-knitted relationship to the capital city. This is effect is a sanctuary founded by Daun Penh (Grandma Penh), a wealthy widow who in 1372, retrieved from the river a log with five Buddha statues in it and ordered to elevate a piece of her property on which to build a temple to house the statues. The 27 meters (89 ft) high man-made hill became known as Wat Phnom Daun Penh.
Over the years, Wat Phnom has had numerous add-ons to the initial shrine that dwelt within the compound of this wonderful sanctuary. The most significant of which is the massive stupa that enshrines the ashes of King Ponhea Yat who in 1434, arrived and built the city of Phnom Penh. Wat Phnom has become a central attraction in the city and is a ‘‘must visit’’ when in Phnom Penh.
The Royal Palace of Cambodia is a complex of buildings although it is generally understood to be the royal abode of the King of Cambodia. The compound was the citadel of King Ponhea Yat (1393-1463) and rebuilt to its present state in 1886, when King Norodom (1834-1904) relocated the royal capital from Udong to Phnom Penh. The buildings with beautiful towering spires are a great example of classic Khmer architecture found in Cambodia today.
Along with numerous other interesting buildings, within the 183,135 square meter (421m x 435m) compound is of course The Khemarin Palace, known as Prasat Khemarin meaning the ‘‘Palace of the Khmer King.’’ This is officially the residence of His Majesty, King Norodom Sihamoni.
Tourists can visit the Throne Hall (Preah Tineang Tevea Vinichhay) where coronations and official ceremonies take place, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Preah Keo Morakot), Stupas (Chedei), A Royal Dining Hall, the Chan Chhaya Pavilion and a French-style building that was a gift from Napoleon III.
Wat Unaloam is a monastery for tourists who visit and find out the religion in the country. In addition, the monastery has a stupa built after Angkor. In Phnom Penh, there are 86 priests, 1,633 monks, 859 novices, 2,520 monks, one chief of monks and seven Deputy chiefs of monks.
The Bayon is a richly decorated Khmer temple built in the late twelfth century or early thirteen century. Built at the center of King Jayavarman’s capital, Angkor Thom was the last state temple to be built at Angkor, and the only Angkorian state temple to be built primarily as a Mahayana Buddhist shrine dedicated to the Buhhda. Following Jayavarman’s death, it was modified and augmented by later Hindu and Theravada Budhist Kings in accordance to their religious preferences.
The Bayon’s most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and massive stone faces on the many tower that jut from the upper terrace and cluster around its center peack. The similarity of the 216 gigantic faces to other statues of Jayavarman VII has led many scholars to the hypothesize that the faces are representations of the King himself. Others believe that the faces belong to Avalokitesvara , the bodhisattva of compassion.
The temple is also popular for two impressive sets of bas-reliefs, which present an unusual combination of mythological, historical, and mundane scenes. This is one of the many “must visit” temples.
Phnom Oudong is located in Ponhea Leu District, Kandal province, 45 Km north of Phnom Penh. One can reach it by National Road No.5. Phnom Oudong is also called Phnom Preah Reach Trap. Phnom Athareus and Phnom Preah Chetreus. It is a mountain, which is rich in cultural patrimonies. For tourists, Oudong is not only a fantastic cultural site but also a charming natural one. It was formerly used as a Khmer’s capital city during 1618-1866.