Saturday, February 23, 2008

More wooden pagodas

The main vihara at Wat Sunkumtear Ream pagoda (right)
Kompong Cham is known for its share of older-style pagodas including one of the country's best preserved examples of this serious slice of Cambodian cultural heritage at Wat Moha Leap. I will post more about Moha Leap soon but another of the wooden pagodas can be found nearby in the village of Pongro, at Wat Sunkumtear Ream, just across the Tonle Touch river. Used as a food stall by the Khmer Rouge, the main vihara was opened up by one of the caretakers and was delightfully cool though the floor was awash with bird droppings and hungry ants. The walls were made of concrete but the ceiling was wooden and tiled and the large teak uprights were beautifully painted with dragons and other patterns. In fact the whole of the inside of the pagoda was covered with paintings, with a series of chariots highlighted on the ceiling. Not quite the treasure that Moha Leap has become but well worth a visit if you are in that part of the province.
The brightly-painted interior wooden roof of the main vihara
Paintings adorn all surfaces inside the main vihara
Intricate patterns and dragons illuminate the teak structural supports
One of the many wall paintings inside the vihara

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