Although I have lived in Cambodia for five years, I only recently visited Preah Ang Chek Preah Ang Chorm for the first time. Located right near the King’s Residence in Siem Reap, across from the Independence Gardens, this shrine has a very interesting history.
Nowadays, the shrine is said to bring good fortune to the newly married, and provide spiritual protection for Siem Reap. The statues of Preah Ang Chek and Ang Chorm were uncovered in 1950 in a deep forest area near Angkor Thom in the Angkor Archealogical Complex. It was believed that they originally stood inside Angkor Wat when it was thriving, however once the temple was abandoned, they were lost.
Dap Chhuon, a notorious figure in pre-independence Cambodia, stole the statues of Preah Ang Chek and Ang Chorm from the Angkor Conservation office and took it to his own camp, where apparently his troops had to pray in front of them for 30 minutes each day.
A couple of years later, when fleeing to Thailand, Dap Chhuon broke off five fingers from the right hand of the Preah Ang Chek statue as he wasn’t able to carry it by himself. Dep Chhuon was eventually killed and the statues were moved to the Provincial Department of Cults and Religious Affairs. During the Khmer Rouge regime, they were then moved to Wat Damnak, the largest pagoda in Siem Reap, for safekeeping.
As the Khmer Rouge wanted to eradicate Buddhism, the troops were ordered to drop the statues of Preah Ang Chek and Ang Chorm in Siem Reap river. After the Khmer Rouge lost power in 1979, the Siem Reap rover was dredged and the statues were returned to Wat Damnak until 1982, when a permanent shrine was built for the statues.
Here, you can worship the brass and bronze statues of Preah Ang Chek and Ang Chorm, which are said to bring good luck. You can also receive blessings from Monks and listen to the traditional Khmer music, while walking around. Entrance is free, but you will have to pay a man at the front to watch your shoes, and you will also want to bring some small cash to give an offering.
Afterwards you can walk around the Independence Gardens, though the sight of trash everywhere may be off-putting, and while I was there I saw a child grabbing the very few flowers in bloom, which lead me to believe that there won’t be much worth looking at in the future.
|Opening Hours||Presumably early morning to late evening|
Royal Gardens, Siem Reap