Reapers turned out in their droves on Monday night to watch 700 monks, aged from 14 to 75, parade through Siem Reap as part of a special ‘spiritual blessing journey’ from Angkor Wat to usher in Visak Bochea Day.
In the town’s biggest ever monk procession, the monks led by the Venerable Hoeurn Somnieng of Wat Damnak stopped off at a number of hotels along the way to carry out meditations and blessings, and allow people to make offerings.
Shinta Mani Hotel provided the procession’s second stopping-off point after Park Hyatt Siem Reap. Shinta Mani general manager Christian de Boer describes the evening as “amazing” and “emotional.”
“The monk blessing was a big success with several hundred people participating,” he says. “At Shinta Mani we closed our road and used it as a stage for this amazing event. Hundreds of candles, lots of torches and a fantastic ambience all formed part of our commitment towards the people of Cambodia.
“Feedback from lots of our guests here has been outstanding, and some were even emotional. Guests felt truly blessed for having been given the chance to participate in this cultural and spiritual event.”
He adds, “My personal highlight was the participation of our staff and their family plus the children from Green Gecko and the Landmine Museum. I would love to thank the monks of Wat Damnak for taking the lead in organising this outstanding – and I hope yearly – event.”
The procession finished up at the Sokha Angkor Resort where Venerable Somnieng led a silent mediation, chanting and blessings.
“It was an emotional experience to just see a beautiful wave of monks in their orange robes,” says Sokha general manager Jeffrey Sussman. “There was silence when they entered our compound, then they quietly lined up in front of the hotel. We had 100 high school students kneeling down each, one with one lotus and three incense sticks, as they entered, and hundreds of candles lined along the kerb within. It was very peaceful, and it looks like it will become an annual event.”