Saturday, January 19, 2008

The intriguing Wat Prasat

The white-washed tower of Wat Prasat
The pagoda of Wat Prasat has a very intriguing white-washed tower in the corner of the temple grounds, which I visited on a recent trip to Tonle Bati. The pagoda is in the Kandal Stung district and my visit coincided with a ceremony where the head monk blessed buckets of water which he then proceded to pour over a group of followers wearing sampots and t-shirts. The ceremony is supposed to bring good luck to the recipients. I wasn't so fortunate. When I asked a few questions about the tower, the lay-men at the temple knew little of its history other than it was renovated in 1988 and they called it by another name, Prasat Pos. On my previous visit to this pagoda in 2002, a monk in his 90s had told me the tower was more than 300 years old but that is the sum total of what I have been able to find out about it's heritage. The lintel above the doorway looks like a copy of a pre-Angkorean era lintel of the 7th or 8th century, the decorative rings on the colonettes also point to that period, whilst the lions are slim and upright, smaller lions sit atop the upper levels of the tower and all in all, its unlike anything else I have seen on my travels. Inside there are a collection of buddhas and a painting of Angkor Wat. Two guardian figures with fierce faces glare at you as you approach and other remnants include an elongated broken pedestal and headless figures. If you know anything of this prasat's history, please let me know.

The doorway to the tower, guarded by fierce figures

Is this lintel, in a pre-Angkorean style, an original or a copy?

Part of a large collection of buddhas inside the tower
One of two upright lions at the front entrance of the tower of Wat Prasat

No comments: