Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Baha’i House of Worship emerges in Battambang

Baha’i House of Worship emerges in Battambang

The Baha’i House of Worship in Battambang cost $1.5 million to build
The Baha’i House of Worship in Battambang cost $1.5 million to build. Photo supplied

Baha’i House of Worship emerges in Battambang

The recent innagruation of Cambodia’s first Baha’i temple in Battambang definitley didn’t go unnoticed as hundreds of people decended to Odambang commune to mark the Kingdom’s newest house of worship.

Hou Sopheap, Baha’i House of Worship’s director who has been involved in the temples construction from the begining, said he was delgightesd to see the project officially open to the public earlier this week..

“The house welcomes all people, regardless of race or religion,” he added.

According to Sopheap, the Baha’i House of Worship was initiated in 2014 when the Universal House of Justice – the supreme body of the Baha’i faith based in Haifa, Israel– chose Battambang as the perfect location for the temple given the province has the largest Baha’i community in Cambodia.

Since the 1920s, Battambang has slowly amassed a Baha’i following of more than 12,000 believers.

The temple’s beautiful design also extends to the interior
The temple’s beautiful design also extends to the interior. Photo supplied

The Baha’i community follow the peaceful teachings of the 19th-century Persian prophet Baha’u’llah.

While the entire site of the temple is located on 9 hectares of land and also consists of a meeting hall and administrative building, the Baha’i House of Worship has been built on a 1.5 hectare plot of land about 7 kilometres from Battambang city.

Sopheap said at its core, the Baha’i House of Worship is a sacred space that is a center of solidarity and symbolises the unity of all religions and mankind. At a cost of $1.5 million, the open-air building, he added, was built so that prayers take place facing the northwest, which is the direction of the Bahá’u’lláh residence in Israel.

Tang Sochet Vitou, a longtime architect who was involved in the temples design phase, said the Baha’i House of Worship was a unique architectural feet for modern Cambodia.

“I am very proud of my Cambodian ancenstors who have built different temples, so I think that as an architect, I should share my passion and art in the 21st Century so as to contiue the rich heritage of the country,” Vitou said.

“The goal of this Baha’i temple is to unite all religions without prejudice to build a place of love and harmony,” he added.

Vitou said that as an architect, one needs to design a building that embodies the meaning, culture and beauty of what it symbolises, which the architcturiral team was dedicated to achieve throughout the design process. Following the design work, the construction of the temple took about two years to complete.

The temple at night is a stunning sight.
The temple at night is a stunning sight. Photo supplied

“I’m happy with everyone’s creativity and the achievment of building the Baha’i House of Worship,” Vitou said with a smile.

While the temple itself adheres to the Baha’is central aesthetic principle of favouring nine-sided designs, the round building’s winged parapets are reminiscent of Vann Molyvann’s Chaktomuk theatre.

The Baha’i House of Worship in Battambang is understood to be the first local house of worship in the world. There are now nine Baha’i House of Worship’s which have been built in countries including Kenya, Chile and India.

In the future, Sopheap hopes the site will get involved in wider community social programs, such as providing a place to assist the elderly and orphans and even provide education opportunities for children.

Sopheap said that while the Baha’i House of Worship welcomes people of every religion from all walks of life who require a spirital sanctuary, he said the worshipers did have to follow some rules, such as no eating or drinking in the shrine or taking photographs inside the temple.

MOST VIEWED

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.