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Construction Begins on New Site For Sacred Buddha Relic

Construction Begins on New Site For Sacred Buddha Relic

New home is being constructed for a holy relic of the Buddha. Formerly housed in

a chedi (stupa) in front of the Phnom Penh railway station, a bone of the Buddha

will be reinstated in a new monument-to be named Sakayamoni Chedi-on the north slope

of Wat Phnom.

The holy remains were originally a gift to Cambodia from Sri Lanka in 1957, which

according to the Buddhist calendar was the 2,500th anniversary of Buddha's death.

The expression of Buddhist kinship was made by an official delegation of Sri Lankan

monks who brought the remains to Cambodia for presentation to Prince Norodom Sihanouk.

The sacred relic was originally kept in Preah Keomarekot (Temple of Holy Remains)

in the Royal Palace before being established in front of the train station.

Two days after Prince Sihanouk returned to Cambodia last November, he announced that

a more appropriate location should be found for the remains, away from the daily

traffic along Achar Mean Boulevard. Wat Phnom, a place of worship for Khmer Buddhists

for centuries, was selected as an suitable venue.

A committee of distinguished religious and lay leaders was formed to head a fundraising

campaign to pay for the construction of a new chedi.

The campaign was initiated by a U.S. $12,600 donation from Prince Sihanouk, followed

by additional contributions of 3.6 million riels, U.S.$29,000, 500 French francs,

and 1 million Thai baht.

Approximately U.S. $670,000 is needed to complete the construction project, which

officially began at a foundation stone-laying ceremony on July 26.

The Phnom Penh Zoo has been closed for the nine-month construction process, with

all the animals relocated to a more spacious site in Kompong Speu.

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