Wednesday January 17, 2018

Preah Vihear: Here is Why this UNESCO World Heritage site in Cambodia is popular among Tourists!

Affording a view for many kilometers across a plain, Prasat Preah Vihear has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-centuries-long Khmer Empire.

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Preah Vihear Temple in Cambodia, Wikimedia
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Phnom Penh (Cambodia), April 29, 2017: Phnom Penh in Cambodia is a place that is synonymous with serenity and conflict. The beautiful Royal Palace, the fluttering robes of monks fill peace in the air of this place. But there is more to the place that meets the eye.

Once the ‘Pearl of Asia’, Phnom Penh’s shine was tarnished by the impact of war and revolution. But the city has since risen from the ashes to take its place among the hip capitals of the region, with an alluring cafe culture and bustling bars.

Apart from all the beauty it holds, Cambodia’s capital can be an assault on the senses at times. Motorbikes whiz through laneways without a thought for pedestrians; markets exude pungent scents; and all the while the sounds of life – of commerce, of survival – reverberate through the streets. With time, it has all become a part of the attraction.

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What’s more surprising is that there is an ancient Hindu temple built in this exotic city. Preah Vihear Temple has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-centuries-long Khmer Empire.

As a key edifice of the empire’s spiritual life, it was supported and modified by successive kings and so bears elements of several architectural styles. Perched on a hilltop with a commanding view of its surroundings. predating Angkor Wat by 100 years, the history of the temple/fortress is somewhat unclear, but it is known to be dedicated to the god Shiva and thought to have been constructed in the reign of Suryavarman I (1002-50), with further significant additions by Suryavarman II (1113-50). Unlike most Khmer temples, the temple is constructed on a long north-south axis, instead of the usual rectangular plan facing east.

The temple gives its name to Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province, in which it is now located.

Journey inside the temple:

  • The fun starts with162 stone steps, a fairly steep climb that will get you warmed up nicely. Your reward is a short set of stairs decorated with nagas and Gopura I, a solitary pavilion with a fluttering Cambodian flag.
  • A 500-metre gently climbing avenue leads up to Gopura II, another smallish pavilion, and a large boray (water cistern, #4) to the left.
  • Yet another avenue (somewhat shorter this time) leads to Gopura III, but also the first courtyard of the temple and the first point where visitors to Angkor Wat will start feeling a sense of deja vu. Make a detour to the left side of the gopura to see relics of a more modern era, in the form of a rusting artillery gun and a few bunkers.
  • A short causeway decorated with nagas leads to the inevitableGopura IV  and behind it the second courtyard. On the other side of the courtyard is Gopura V (Galleries) and beyond it the main Sanctuary, the centrepiece of the site which now houses a miniature Buddhist temple.
  • But what makes the effort worthwhile lies just outside, so sneak out the left side to find yourself at Pei Ta Da Cliff, with a sheer 500-metre drop and a jaw-dropping vista of the Cambodian jungles below.

Although there are constant conflicts between Cambodia and Thailand but the temple transcends over these “small” issues to retain its glory.

– by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram, Twitter: @NikitaTayal6 

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  • is this a press article or just a messed mixed ideas draft?

  • Gearsau

    Pity that the writer didn’t do some home work before she wrote this . Preah Vihear Temple isn’t located in Phnom Penh, but, on top of a mountain, some 300 kilometers away. That’s in a straight line BTW .

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A nest of endangered turtle found in Mekong river in Cambodia

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A nest of endangered turtle found in Mekong river in Cambodia.
A nest of endangered turtle found in Mekong river in Cambodia. wikimedia
  • An endangered giant turtle was found in Cambodia
  • The turtle was transferred to Wildlife Conservation Society
  • The turtle is taken to breed and all the eggs hatch and the hatchlings are released into the river.

Phnom Penh, Dec 20, 2017: A nest of the globally endangered Asian giant softshell turtle was found on a sandbar on the Mekong river in Cambodia, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said.

This is the only remaining area in the country where these huge turtles still breed. This nest was now being protected by native communities until all the eggs hatch and the hatchlings are released into the river.

The Asian giant softshell turtle or Pelochelys cantorii is listed on the IUCN Red List as globally endangered.

It was thought extinct in the Cambodian portion of the Mekong river until its rediscovery in 2007 in a 48-km river stretch in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces.

The Mekong Turtle Conservation Project, formerly managed by Conservation International, was transferred to the WCS this year, with collaboration from the Fisheries Administration and the Turtle Survival Alliance.

The community-based protection programme encourages the participation of the communities living in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces by hiring former nest collectors to search for and protect nests, instead of harvesting the eggs.

Since 2007, a total of 378 nests have been protected and 8,528 hatchlings released.

“From now until June is the breeding period of the Asian giant softshell turtle. This is the first nest we have found so far this year. We will work hard with the Fisheries Administration and local communities to find more nests along the Mekong river and protect them from egg collection,” Som Sitha, WCS’s Technical Advisor to the Turtle Conservation Project, said.

“The Asian giant softshell turtle is a very rare species that will become extinct in the near future if we do not take proper action to conserve them. There are not many individuals left. Everyone can help conserve the species by not buying or eating their meat or eggs.” (IANS)