The Royal Palace of Cambodia-A A +A
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
SOMETHING gold, something new. After visiting Cambodia’s dark past via the Killing Fields, we needed to shake off the gloom and cheer up quick. The trip to the Russian Market for something new and to the Royal Palace for something gold did the trick.
It was late in the afternoon when we reached the Preah Barum Reachea Veang Chaktomuk or the Royal Palace. This is where the country’s royalty resides. It has been home to the Kings of Cambodia since King Norodom relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh in the 1860s and the palace was built.
Within the almost 175,000 square meter palace grounds are three main compounds divided by walls—the Silver Pagoda (Preah Vihear Preah Keo Marakot or commonly called the Wat Preah Keo) on the north side houses the 17th century Emerald Buddha made of baccarat crystal and the diamond studded Maitreya Buddha among the many national treasures; the Khemarin Palace or the Prasat Khemarin (Palace of the Khner King) on the south is the king’s residence; the cross-shaped building of the Throne Hall (Preah Thineang Dheva Vinnichay) faces East and occupies the central part of the grounds. It’s holds the royal throne and the busts of past kings, and where the religious and royal ceremonies are held.
Another notable feature of the palace is the open-air pavilion called the Moonlight Pavilion (Preah Thineang Chan Chhaya). It’s built alongside a section of the palace walls easily seen from the outside and serves as the stage for Khmer classical performances, and as viewing deck for the royalty during parades along the boulevard across the palace walls.
At sundown, the golden hue of the buildings is heightened. It was magical. With visiting time almost over, we were the very few tourists left walking the grounds and enjoy the serenity the time offered. This was a very welcome change from places we’ve been to earlier in the day.
The stroll did us good and meeting a couple of young monks shook off our melancholic state. This experience was special.
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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 18, 2012.