Monday, March 18, 2013

Cambodia - The Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda

While in Phnom Penh, I thought the must visit places were "The Killing Fields" and "S21" only. Interestingly enough, while I was visiting these places, I saw a poster inside the Tuk-Tuk showing other touristy places inside Phnom Penh City. I was surprised to learn that a great and historical palace and a silver Pagoda beside it near Sisowath Quay was walking distance from my hotel. Well actually, you need sturdy legs if you decide to walk from Sorya Mall and Central Market area, where my hotel is located, up to "The Royal Palace." In addition, I was intrigued by the Silver Pagoda without any knowledge that it was called that way due to its silver tiles flooring.

It took me almost an hour of leisure paced walk before I reached The Royal Palace. You may take a Tuk Tuk for 2 USD to reach this place. Entrance fee was 3 USD and I added another 2 USD for my camera.

The Royal Palace was built in 17th century and served as official residence of the King of Cambodia and his family. It is also a venue for official rituals and ceremonies of the Kingdom.

Inside the complex are lovely and well manicured gardens with countless tropical flowers and plants. Likewise, it should come as no surprise that all the structures show great similarities with other Buddhist inspires structures that can be found in Thailand though the whole place is smaller and less grand compared to Bangkok's "The Grand Palace."

Silver Pagoda

Beside The Royal Palace is The Silver Pagoda or Wat Preah Keo Morokat (The Temple of the Emerald Buddha) which boasts of a flooring of more than 5000 solid silver tiles that weighs nearly six tons though only a portion of them is exposed for viewing. Aside from silver flooring, there are many religious treasures and artifacts as well such as the the primal Emerald Buddha statue while in front of it is another life size golden Maitreya (Future) Buddha that weighs 90 kg encrusted by several thousands of diamonds including a 25 carat diamond in the crown and 20 carat diamond embedded on the chest. As usual, photoshoot is not allowed inside the temple but I was able to walk barefooted on these silver tiles.


Phochani Pavilion

The Throne Hall - closed thus all of us peeped at open windows

Chanchhaya Pavilion

You would find also a replica or model of Angkor Wat

There are also areas that are closed to the public such as the royal residence and the guest house for foreign visitors.

Like any other Buddhist temples, you need to follow a dress code. Your shoulders up to the legs should be well covered. Aside from that, no footwear or hats are allowed inside the temple.

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