The brightly-painted wooden ceiling at Wat Potiret on Koh Sotin
On my recent visit to Kompong Cham I came across a few of the older-style pagodas, with two of them having a quite rare internal wooden construction and another, Wat Potiret, also still boasting its wooden ceiling. Wat Moha Leap was perhaps the best example of this wooden construction and I'll post some photos from my visit there very soon. In the meantime, this painting in good condition of a chariot flying through the skies, can be found on the wooden ceiling at Wat Potiret, located on the island of Koh Sotin, stuck in the middle of the Mekong River, south of Kompong Cham city. This old vihara is now only used by birds and bats and was locked, so meant I had to get the key from one of the friendly monks. I doubt whether it will still be standing in a year or two and that's the problem with a lot of the older pagodas, they are being dismantled and newer concrete versions being built with donations from wealthy Cambodians, both home and abroad. This is effectively a loss of Cambodia's heritage and is a sad example of a 'new broom sweeping clean' regardless of the impact for the current and future generations. Maybe I should begin/join a campaign to preserve all of Cambodia's wooden viharas that are still standing in Kompong Cham, Battambang and Kratie provinces?
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There's a lot going on, news-wise, in recent days so I'll leave the media bloggers to relay all of that detail, from the visit of the Queen of Spain, to the inauguration by Hun Sen and the ADB of the millions of dollars being spent on renovating the Cambodian railway system, a new law on sex trafficking to replace the ineffective one previously in place, the arrival of baseball in the country (in a newsprint version of the film, Field of Dreams), Cambodia (and me) laughing at the United States claims for $340 million worth of debts from the 70s, to the on-going saga of Thailand trying to get a piece of the Preah Vihear cake. Oh, and it's another public holiday today, yet another Buddhist holiday, this time it's Meak Bochea Day.
The local press report today that the road to the summit of Bokor Mountain could be open again this week - two years ahead of schedule! I wouldn't put my house on that news but if access to the top of Bokor is again possible then the authorities and the Sokha Group who are renovating the road and the mountain-top facilities need to be very clear about who, when and how the public can gain access. This is a gem amongst the attractions along the south coast of Cambodia so they need to be clear over accessibility - to-date they have been as clear as mud!