In addition to visiting Kampong Luong on Saturday, Alberto and I also made our way over to Oudong. Oudong is just a short drive outside of Phnom Penh and was the capital of Cambodia from 1618 to 1866, when the capital was moved to Phnom Penh. As it’s a short drive out of the city it is a popular weekend spot for many locals, although it seems to be a bit off the regular tourist track. Oudong is located on a series of small hills, so a trip there includes a bit of light hiking. There are quite a few Cham communities around Oudong (we drove by several mosques on the way there) and there is one small Islamic temple on one of the hills. Alberto is studying Chams in Cambodia and had been to this temples several times before.
The top line in this sign is Khmer language, the second is Cham script, and if you can’t read the last line you’re in trouble 😉
We hiked around a bit more checking out several small temples and stupas along the way. (Oudong contains the stupas of several of Cambodia’s past kings). Many of the temples had older men standing outside asking for small donations. As Alberto mentioned, it would be fun to return and speak to them more about the stories behind each of the temples. Ours was a quick trip, so all I have for now are just a few photos. As usual, click “Keep Reading” for more.
One of the main attractions of Oudong is a temple featuring a giant Buddha statue. Embarrassingly, I don’t know much about the original structure or Buddha that was standing here. Oudong was captured by the Khmer Rouge and I can only imagine that most of the destruction there was caused by that occupation and the general havoc that time and a civil war can have on a place. Anyway, the temple is being rebuilt now along with a bigger more spectacular Buddha. The other statue below and to the right is very interesting to me. I’m not sure who it is? A modernist Buddha?
I highly recommend checking out this blog with photos from a trip to Oudong in 2005. You can see what the temple used to look like before its current reconstruction. (Btw- the blog ends suddenly in June 2007- what happened to you Stefan?)
We continued up and downstairs checking out other temples along the way and stopping for a cool drink every now and then.
I need to do my homework on this pile of bricks that was probably a collapsed brick temple/prasat. Brick was generally used as a Pre-Angkorian early Angkorian period construction material.
That little bird house looking thing is a spirit house or Neak Ta and part of what some would call Cambodia’s animist tradition. Although it has been blended quite seamlessly in with Buddhism, I would say. I’ll be blogging about them more in the future, but here is a neat article where you can read more.
After such a long day we enjoyed the view and then took the car back to Phnom Penh for a nice long nap.