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PRASAT PREAH VIHEAR



In the 6th century , king Yasovarmamn I ( 889-900) began work on the original dedicated to Shisa as result of spiritual development, increased political prestige and economic growth was naturally reflected in the Temple undergoing more than 300 years of consultation with deal of remodeling under subsequent King Suryavarman II ( 1113 – 1150) this increased prestige naturally changed the original small sanctuary into one of the greatest Khmer temples of all times. This ranking was the result of the finest in situ carving that depicted the highest standards of unique Khmer architecture.

Under the Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1904 and 1907, the line of frontier between Cambodia and Thai along the Dongrak Mountains followed justice at the Hague officially found that the Preah Vihear Temple situated inside the Cambodia territory.

Location

Preah Vihear Temple is located in a pleasant environment with an attractive countryside slightly east of the mid section of the Dongrek Mountains.

It is perched on the edge of a giant cliff, about 625 meters above sea level in Preah Vihear Province, Northern part of Cambodia, 625km from the capital city of Phnom Penh. It is also situated close to the Cambodia-Thai border.

What can seen in Preah Vihear Temple

The temple has four levels and four courtyards which comprise of five Gopuras ( entrance pavilions some times surmounted by tower )

Palace Building or Gopuras on the third level.

This group of building was the King’s residence when he came to pay homage to the mighty God , and the two wings were the shelters for the pilgrims. The main temple are used for the high-ranking supreme divinities, this mighty group of building is considered as the center of the whole temple complex.

The front stone stairway : this main passage is on the North side. The stairway is 8 meters wide and 78 meters long,. The fist flight has 162 steps. At the first landing is a large stone singa statue on stone block. Another 54 flight of steps 4 meters wide and 27 meters long leads up to the second landing also decorated with stone signa statue.

The Nagaraj Courtyard : this stone-paved is 7 meters wide by 31.8 meters long. From here the stairway leads up to the first-level Gropura. The Stairheads are in the form of seven-headed snakes called "Ngu Suang " facing North towards the Prasat. The heads and tails of nagas on both sides look like ordinary snakes, characterizing and early example of this type of animal figures. The head portion of the naga on the west side looks very impressive because it is made from a single solid stone.

The first level Gopura : this is a pavilion in Greek architecture style with cross plan on an elevated, rebates angle base on each of the roof doorway . Stone lions are placed on each of the roofs dooeway.

Accessibility to the Temple

The temple can be reached by crossing the Cambodia-Thai gateway border from the Ubon Ratchantani Province of Thailand. Currently the visits are from 8.00 till 16.00 hours.

The Grandeur of its site

For all the grandeur of its site, perched on the edge of a giant cliff and with a commanding view over northern Cambodia, Preah Vihear is difficult to visualize as a whole. The experience is truly a memorable one – the series of ascents over the best part of a kilometer, the ornate Gopuras and the wealth of decorative detail truly staggers one’s imagination.

Cambodian pottery



I have a good friend from Singapore who is on a visit and yesterday we went to see how Khmer pottery and ceramics are made. The little workshop and retail outlet, called Khmer Ceramics is on the way to Siem Reap's airport and is run by a friendly couple, a Belgian man, Serge, and his Cambodian wife.

When you visit, a Cambodian guide will explain how Cambodian ceramics are made. The process starts with 3 different types of clay: red, white and yellow. After moulding the clay on a wheel, it is fired in a modern, gas-powered kiln from 850 to over a thousand degrees. There is also a replica of a traditional kiln on the site. Coloured glazing is sometimes added to the clay and the colouring is made from natural materials like rice husks and iron. The result is blue, green, or red ceramics.

Ceramic plates have been ordered by restaurants and small containers are used in hotels to hold shampoo etc. There are also larger pieces, one vase had Khmer writing all around, which was beautiful. You can get gifts for as little as a dollar. I also spotted a vase for USD250.

There was a group of small French children who were learning from an Irishman, himself a teacher of ceramics in Ireland. There was also another customer--the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong. Meeting him deserves an entry in itself.

I am interested in the classes and the cost goes down with the number of participants so if anyone wants to join me, do email me.

Feeding Siem Reap's rubbish collecting children


Thursday 10 June marked the day Mavis' Touch A Life (TAL) food programme opened at her house near Wat Po Lanka. Previously Mavis would cook food and deliver to residents at the very poor Mondul 3 district. She has since rented a house, for people to drop in for meals, so providing a soup-kitchen like service.


They were up since 6am to buy and prepare the food. The "ait-jai" children (rubbish collectors) around the area had been told to come today at noon. They were waiting outside the gate at 11. The children must have been hungry! Mavis' landlord is such a good guy and obviously believes in what she is doing. His whole family came to help out with the cooking.


The meals are vegetarian, with protein from eggs and toufu. The fried eggs with long beans would turn out to be a hit with the children!


Not so the morning glory fried with garlic, fish sauce, sugar and salt. Later, Kagna explained to me for poor people in Cambodia, morning glory (or kangkong as we call it in Singapore and Malaysia) is a staple dish because it is so cheap (500 riels to 1000 riels a kg). So that's why the children didn't eat it - they were probably sick of it! A lesson for us - no more tro-kun in the future!


There was also vegetable soup, with carrots, winter melon, potatoes and onions, flavoured with vegetable seasoning and salt. Some of the children really liked the soup - but no one liked the onions! Here is my father (he's here for a visit) helping to scoop soup into individual bowls for the children.


The children who were waiting outside are finally allowed in at noon. But what are they doing?


Washing their hands! Mavis would like them to learn and practise good hygiene habits and has provided clean water and soap.


A feast! A total of 17 kids turned up. Not bad for the first day! We told the children to spread the word. TAL hopes to provide meals for the ait-jai adults as well.


The beautiful TAL house


where the meals are served.


This boy is just 8 years old and is forced to collect rubbish. A warm meal at lunch time is much appreciated. Sometimes they get packed food from home which turns cold by the lunch time. Mostly, they will have to fend for themselves, perhaps buying snacks - so long as they bring home the amount of expected money every day.


This cute girl is the youngest of the lot - only 6 years old, wearing an over-sized T-shirt. She was so happy. The kids are so sweet and incredibly polite and helpful. Mavis says the children in our countries are different, not as sweet and obedient. I guess children in developed countries are used to having it easy and can be spoilt.


This 12 year old boy has barely finished swallowing his food and is going for seconds! He was so hungry. He ate the most!



After eating the children help clean up - they wash their individual plates, first in a bucket of rice water with dish washing liquid added (it is amazing - the rice water really helps remove grease!).


The second pail is clean water which they dip the plates in, and then finally in a third pail.


The weather is so hot, some of the boys took the opportunity to have a cool shower!


Helping my friend!


Thank you TAL! We will be back! (TAL serves food 3 times a week)



Off to work again! (The sacks on the side are to put the cans/bottles/cardboard the kids find which will then be sold on to a recycling centre).


Joom reap lia Mavis! Aw-koon chran!