Sep 28, 2014
The Mountain Temples of Phnom Sampeuv
GPS waypoint: N 13°01.241' E103°05.863'
Location: Phnom Sampeuv, Province of Battambang, Cambodia
Up the Mountain
Immediately after the Vipassana closing, a kind hearted local meditator, Sokun, took me and Tuyen, a Vietnamese Vipassana server, to Phnom Sampeuv, popular mountain temple just a kilometer away from the Vipassana Center and 17 kms away from Battambang. Sampeuv is an imposing limestone outcropping in the middle of a rice field. It was a steep ride up the cliff face on Sokun's motorbike. Carrying my 23-kilo backpack on a small motorbike with another passenger plus the driver wasn't exactly the most comfortable for anyone, but they were kind.
On the mountain top, the density of temples and Buddha monuments baffle the imagination. There is practically a temple, shrine or statue of Buddha on every turn, with a monk looking after it's care and maintenance. This was my first glimpse into Cambodian's deep devotion to Buddha.
The serenity of Sampeuv hides a dark history. During the brutal reign of the Khmer Rouge, over a thousand people were killed on that mountain top. They would be blindfolded and brought to the edge of a cliff and be whacked at the back of the head to fall down to their doom - some of them would not die until after a few days. It was a brutal part of their not-so-distant history that remains fresh. Some bones are preserved where they were found, as a grim reminder of the tragic events that took place.
- there is no fee to visit any of the temples. But feel free to make a donation for its upkeep.
- take a tuk-tuk or moto-taxi and make the arrangement. Normally, the fee is $5 trip one way, but they might charge more since the tuk-tuk goes up the mountain. Cheaper to get a moto-taxi (single motorcycle where you ride at the back)...about 30 minutes.
Sep 28, 2014 Phnom Sampeuv
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