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Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh

Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh

  • Travel Location Phnom Penh
  • Wat Phnom is a Buddhist temple located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was built in 1372, and stands 27 metres above the ground. It is the tallest religious structure in the city. The pagoda was given the name of Wat Preah Chedey ...

OVERVIEW

Set on top of a tree-covered knoll 27m high, Wat Phnom is the only hill in town. According to legend, the first pagoda on this site was erected in 1373 to house four statues of Buddha deposited here by the waters of the Mekong and discovered by a woman name, Penh. The main entrance to Wat Phnom is via the grand eastern staircase, which is guarded by lions and naga (snake) balustrades. Today, many people come here to pray for good luck and success in school exams or business affairs. When a petitioner's wish is granted, he or she returns to make the offering (such as a garland of jasmine flowers or bananas, of which the spirits are said to be especially fond) promised when the request was made.

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Wat Phnom (Khmer: វត្តភ្នំ; "Mountain Pagoda") is a Buddhist temple (wat) located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was built in 1372, and stands 27 metres (88.5 ft) above the ground. It is the tallest religious structure in the city. The pagoda was given the name of Wat Preah Chedey Borapaut. Wat Phnom is the central point of Phnom Penh.

History of Wat Phnom

Legend relates that a wealthy widow called Penh (commonly referred to as Daun Penh – Grandmother Penh – in Khmer) found a large koki tree in the river. Inside the tree she found four bronze statues of the Buddha. Penh constructed a small shrine on an artificial hill made by the people living in the village to protect the sacred statues. Eventually this became a sacred site and sanctuary where people would make blessings and pray.

Then it came to the year of the snake 1437 suggests King Ponhea Yat ordered His Excellency Decho Srei to raise the mount even higher when he finished building the new Royal Palace in the new city he then named Krong Chaktomok Mongkol or simply known as Phnom Penh. The prominent stupa immediately west of the sanctuary contains the ashes of the king and his royal family.

Wat Phnom is the center of celebration during Khmer New Year, and Pchum Ben.

Architecture of Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh

The sanctuary itself was rebuilt several times in the 19th century and again in 1926. The interior has a central altar complex with a large bronze seated Buddha surrounded by other statues, flowers, candles and items of devotion and worship. The walls are covered with murals, especially of Jataka stories of the Buddha's earlier reincarnations before his enlightenment. There are also murals depicting stories from the Reamker, the Khmer version of the Ramayana. The newer murals in the bottom tiers are somewhat balanced, traditional and modern.

The southwest corner of the vihear and stupa, is a small shrine dedicated to Lady Penh. The front is often crowded with the faithful bringing their prayers and food offerings to the woman deemed responsible for the founding of the wat.

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