One of my most unforgettable trips that I made in the past few years was my trip to Cambodia. My primary goal was to see Angkor Wat which was on my dream list when I learned about Angkor Wat from some lectures in a museum. This trip has given me an opportunity to explore a bit more about this country, its history, cultures, art, religions and its wonderful people. It is a memorable experience which I would treasure forever. My pictures may not be the best ones, but the sites, the art objects, the architectural wonder, and the people I met in Cambodia had impressed me how a country with a strong mighty Empire before the 1400’s could have suffered so much during its dark ages, and how it had jumped back onto its feet in the recent decades. According to wikitravel information, Cambodia’s economy nowadays has two pillars: tourism and textile. I am glad that I did have a small contribution as a tourist!
The primary theme of this post and the next few is to use my limited knowledge to show some of the religious art forms and architecture, and explore how religions have influenced the cultures, traditions and art of this beautiful country, Cambodia.
The Royal Palace is in the heart of the capital city. It is an extravagant palace which is the home of precious murals and statues. The complex is built in traditional Khmer style. The walls are painted pale yellow and white, representing the two religions, Buddhism and Hinduism.
These chairs are reserved for royalties or high ranked officials of Cambodia or other countries. They will sit on these chairs to remove their shoes before going into the building. We common people will remove our shoes while standing on the side.
In the same compound of the Royal Palace is the Silver Pagoda, Phnom Penh. Constructed in 1962 by former King Sihanouk. It is named Silver Pagoda because of its 5329 silver floor tiles. It has a rich collection of artifacts and Buddha images. It is now more a museum than a place of worship.
Inside the Silver Pagoda are the Emerald Buddha and the life-sized solid gold Buddha. The Buddha is encrusted with 2086 diamonds and precious stones.
Buddha images inside the temple
This is a stupa outside the area of the Royal Palace. I will write another post in future about stupa, which is a very important religious structure in Buddhism
Wat Phnom, or “Hill Temple,” is built upon an artificial hill about 100′ high. It is here that the city of Phnom Penh (“Penh’s Hill”) was founded in 1373. The main (east) entrance, shown here, is guarded by modern statues that depict dvarapalas, chinthes, and nagas.
These two pictures have shown a complete contrast of the rich and the poor along the Mekong River in Phnom Penh. On the left side of the river is the Royal Palace, while on the right are the poor fishing quarters.
We were the lucky ones. The hotel where we lived was very beautiful. This picture shows a musician playing a Khmer musical instrument in the hotel.
This picture shows a statue of the Hindu god Ganesha being displayed as an artwork of worship in this hotel, which is decorated with many religious objects.