Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Chedei still in doubt despite King's pledge



Chedei still in doubt despite King's pledge

Chedei still in doubt despite King's pledge

T HE construction of the new Preah Sakyamoni Chedei (Buddha's stupa) to house what is believed to be a bone of the Buddha himself, is expected to receive a boost with a fresh royal contribution of $900,000 from King Norodom Sihanouk.

But the generous donation from the King - who asked for the chedei to be built - is unlikely to be enough to allow construction work to be completed.

Sar Eun, in charge of hiring workers at the construction site, said the temple could be finished by March 1995 if there was enough money. But he estimated that $3 million is required for the temple.

Construction of the new temple, which will be 50 meters high, 42 meters long and 30 meters wide, was started on July 14,1992 and was supposed to be completed in 18 months but to date not even the framework has been completed.

Kong Sam Ol, Minister of Agriculture and chief of the building committee, said that private donations up to Aug 31 this year had totaled $371,062 of which $362,365 had been spent.

Put Samon, who is in charge of receiving money for the temple contributed at Wat Phnom, said he receives on average between 2,000 and 5,000 riel in individual donations per day.

In a fax dated Oct 5 announcing His Majesty's contribution, the King also requested that a new committee, headed by Prime Ministers Ranariddh and Hun Sen and Acting Head of State Chea Sim be set up to supervise construction.

Currently the bone is kept at a small Sakyamoni Chedei in Phnom Penh, which was built during the Sihanouk regime. It is located in front of the city's railway station, which is crowded with people selling goods around it. At night it becomes a shelter for homeless.

The King requested the government to build a new Chedei to house the bone, and chose Wat Phnom as the site. Wat Phnom, situated on a hill in central Phnom Penh, is peaceful and full of trees. In His Majesty's fax, King Sihanouk said the country would not see peace, national unity and territorial integrity if the building of the temple was left unfinished.

"As there is no question of asking to our very poor people for more financial contributions for this great construction, I have decided to give $900,000 from the budget provided by the National Assembly as the Royal budget," the King said.

Um Kong Chamreun, who works in the Ministry of Religious Affairs and is one of those collecting money for the project said the temple is to be built for storing the Buddha's bone (called Preah Sareyraka Teat). "When the Buddha died, pieces of his bone were sent to countries with Buddhist populations, and Cambodia has one of them," he explained.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants