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Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

Listed under Temples in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

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The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda walled compound overlooks the Tonle Sap river in central Phnom Penh. The complex, sprawling across manicured gardens, is built in traditional Khmer style characterized by multi-level golden roofs that sparkle in the sun. Golden nagas, colonnaded verandas, winged garudas and the odd Pavilion of Napoleon III compete for your attention on the outside while murals, royal collections and coronation paraphernalia await inside the various buildings.

Most of the Silver Pagoda’s 5000 silver tiles are covered by protective carpets leading up to an assortment of Buddha statues including the Emerald Buddha and a life-size golden Buddha decorated with diamonds and precious stones. The courtyard, whose enclosing wall features a 642 metres long mural depicting the Ramayana epic, is dotted with intricately sculpted chedis. The Throne Hall is occasionally used for official functions; the royal family’s private residence is closed to the public.

Beyond the historical significance of the location and the artefacts displayed, it is the site’s photogenic quality that delighted me the most. Linger for a while to observe the effect of the changing light on decorative statues and multi-coloured tiled roofs. 


Written by  Francoise Ohayon.

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