Wat Preah Keo Silver Pagoda, Phnom Penh
The Silver Pagoda is one of the most spectacular temples within Cambodia to testament to the past deviation to both Buddha and the king of Cambodia. The outside façade appears little different from other Buddhist temples but inside the wealth of the pre Khmer Rouge Cambodia is partly displayed in the form of 1kg silver tiles which cover the floor of the temple.
The Silver Pagoda has a total of 5,329 silver tiles though only a small section is displayed to visitors. The Silver Pagoda temples official name is the Wat Preah Keo.The Silver Pagoda is still officially the temple of the King of Cambodia and lies within the grounds of the Royal Palace, though truly it is more of a museum than active temple. This close connection with the King of Cambodia probably saved the Silver Pagoda from the destruction during the Khmer Rouge reign of fear when the majority of Buddhist temples were destroyed.
Silver Pagoda Phnom Penh Tourist Guide
The Silver Pagoda if viewed as a museum has an extensive collection sacred Buddhist artifacts the most important is the Emerald Buddha of Cambodia. This small Emerald Buddha is similar to that of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok’s Royal palace and dates from the 17th century. The official name of the Silver Pagoda is Wat Preah Keo which translated into English means the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, but this statue is often overshadowed by its large neighbour the Golden Buddha.
The colourful skyline of Phnom Penh
This life size representation of Maitreya Buddha was commission by the king of Cambodia in 1907 is inlaid with 9584 precious diamonds and wears the royal clothes of Cambodia. The statue is fashioned purely from gold and weighs in just over 90kg, is possible one of the most expensive objects with either no protection or security guarding it.
The majority of the silver title floor is protected and covered so that disappointingly only a very small portion of the floor is visible to visitors to the temple. The entire silver flooring must be spectacular to view when exposed but is very rarely reveled. As within the Silver Pagoda there are statues are in the likeness of Buddha it is strictly enforced that no photos are to be taken within the Silver Pagoda but photos in the grounds are permitted.
The entrance fee is $3 and a surcharge of $2 is added for each camera. The staff at the Silver Pagoda take quiet an extended lunch (mainly to moonlight with their other jobs) and the visiting hours are from 7:30 -11:00 and 14:00-17:00. As the Silver Pagoda is classified as a temple respectable closes must be worn with shoulders and knees covered, staff can lend shawls to cover shoulders.
History of the Silver Pagoda
The Silver Pagoda which was built between 1892 and 1902 original had a wooden exterior and was known as the Wat Ubosoth Ratanaram. The title of the temple was changed after the emerald Buddha was housed within and renamed the Wat Preah Keo. Along with this increase in prestige the temple’s exterior structure was upgraded in strength (concrete) and design (marble) during 1962.
The temple and its sacred contents were spared the devastation inflicted by the Khmer Rouge regime. In the present day the temple has rescinded much of its religious significance and to such a level that temple is completely omitted from the English translation and it is referred to as simple a pagoda.