Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wat Sovantomreach

The impressive entrance gate to Wat Sovantomreach is similar to the Gates at Angkor Thom
The giant faces of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and attendants
From the top of Phnom Baset on Sunday I could see at least two large 'Angkor Wat' style buildings in the distance. Wat Nokor Vimean Suor is the most popular one, inundated with Khmer tourists and families taking a break from Phnom Penh and basking in its notoriety as the backdrop in many of the country's karaoke video-shoots. The other red-coloured pagoda in a similar style is the more sedate Wat Sovantomreach. Currently in its eighth year of construction, the main vihara is still not complete though its a functioning pagoda and two families were receiving blessings and fortune-tellings as I wandered through the immense building with high ceilings and numerous passageways. The outside entrance to the grounds of the pagoda was eye-catching to say the least. Its a replica of the massive Gates of Angkor Thom - with the gargantuan faces of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara peering out over statues of gods and demons pulling on a naga - and as I arrived, two monks, Sophat and Jansat stopped for a chat and invited me to meet their fellow monks at the back of the main vihara, where some of the structures are half-painted and still under construction. I hope my photos give you a feel for the place - it's well worth a visit as part of your Phnom Baset 'experience'.

54 demons pull on the body of a naga in a representation of the Churning of the Sea of Milk

The impressive causeway leading to the main entrance to the pagoda

Painting and construction is on-going at Wat SovantomreachLight streams into the main altar area of the vihara
New friends; LtoR: Sopha, Sokvan, Sophat and Jansat

No comments: