Friday, April 20, 2018

Wat Ounalom Temple in Phnom Penh

Wat Ounalom sits between the Royal Palace and the National Museum, facing the river esplanade, and is probably the most conspicuous of the city's temples.  This complex is the center of Cambodian Buddhism and the residence of  the country's most important monk.  The temple was established in the 1440s and consists of 44 structures on the temple grounds.

The entrance to the temple is through a simple gate, but once inside, there is a lot to see scattered around the grounds.  Before entering, the view of the temple from across the street is appealing (now if only all those cars and trucks would move on so I could get a clean picture!).

Wat Ounalom temple

 Temple grounds

Inside the temple buildings are intriguing architecture, furniture, sculpture, and displays.

 Inside temple buildings

Several buildings contain beautiful floral displays at the alters.  As I reach the top of the stairs to enter one, I see that a famous monk is there that day, with a line of people down the stairs waiting for private meetings with him.

Temple buildings

Continuing through the compound to the rear, I find the temple cemetery, still in use.

 Cemetery, old and modern headstones

Returning to the front of the temple, I take one last look at the beautiful complex and also find an important requirement to temple life, the chicken cages, near the entrance (monks have to eat also).

 Final view of the temple, temple chickens

I've started with a variety of experiences:  palace, museum, temple, now where to next?

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