It was the Chinese New Year and my husband and I wanted to escape the city. We finally pushed through with our plan last Sunday. My husband, younger brother and I drove 30-40kms northwest of Phnom Penh and found ourselves heading to Phnom Prasith. There we spent the whole day temple-hunting (and kite-flying afterwards).
Despite the heat and the bumpy and dusty ride, we found what we were looking for, a pre-Angkorian wat (temple) – or what’s left of it, anyway – that sits on top of Phnom Prasith and tucked in the lush vegetation.
Since it is perched up a hill, it is cool, very quiet and offers an excellent panoramic view of the area. Local villagers come here often for their daily prayers and offerings to monks-in-residence. During special Buddhist holidays, such as the Khmer New Year and Bon Pchum Ben, the number of visitors increase as the villagers are joined by local tourists who’ve come to offer prayers and food to the monks and spirits of long-gone ancestors to earn extra merits for their next life.
Although we preferred exploring the area by ourselves but we also didn’t turn down the offer to be toured around by a villager. He really gave us interesting details about the area, for example, behind the altar (picture on the top right), is a tunnel about 16kms long and connects this wat to Phnom Oudong, the old capital of Cambodia (1618-1886) before it was moved to Phnom Penh.
Here are some more pictures:
Please click the individual photo for a larger view.
Don’t forget to come back next week. I will feature another wat. Not as old but equally interesting, too.