Preah Vihear Temple - Cambodia

07-06-2016

The Preah Vihear Temple is a Khmer Hindu temple situated atop a 525-meter cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains. The temple complex runs 800m along a north-south axis. It was built mainly during the 11th and 12th centuries during the reigns of the kings Suryavarman I (and Suryavarman II. Ownership of the temple by Cambodia has been under dispute from neighbouring Thailand. In 1962 the International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled that it belonged to Cambodia.

The really hot and most disputed issue in WHC 32nd session in Quebec clearly was the nomination of Preah Vihear Temple arising from the controversial judgment of International Court of Justice in 1962 and unclear border demarcation between Cambodia and Thailand. From this dispute, I believed many people might question how special of this temple to be listed as world heritage site.



During my 2007 trip to Southern Laos and Northeastern Thailand, I had opportunity to visit almost all important ancient Khmer temples in this region, and I had to say that Preah Vihear was a crème de la crème of my trip. Situated on the high cliff making the temple looked quite stunning; however it was not the location that took your breath away, it was the amazing quality of stone craving of this temple that easily made this temple to be on the prestigious list of UNESCO.



My guide explained that for ancient Khmer art, the stone carving style of the Temple of Banteay Srei, part of Angkor, was considered the most beautiful of its kind and there was only one place on earth that built in the same style and that was Preah Vihear, so I was not surprised why this temple was so beautiful even partial in ruins. My favorite part of the temple were the third and forth gopura halls, the third hall stone craving was exceptionally intricacy and beautiful, while the forth hall was like floating in the sky as it was built on the top of the hill.



So I highly recommended visiting this temple. It was very easy to visit from Thailand side, but I heard it was quite complicate to visit from Cambodia, but try to visit it if you can; it was truly a worthwhile experience. My hope is one day Thailand will nominate its part of the temple complex to make this impressive temple to be fully completed as the idea of world heritage is to protect the outstanding work of humankind over politic and territory issue.

Source: worldheritagesite

 

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