Wat Phnom

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Wat Phnom
WatPhnom PhnomPenh 2005 2.JPG
View of Wat Phnom
Basic information
Geographic coordinates 11°34′34″N 104°55′23″E / 11.57611°N 104.92306°E / 11.57611; 104.92306Coordinates: 11°34′34″N 104°55′23″E / 11.57611°N 104.92306°E / 11.57611; 104.92306
Affiliation Theravada Buddhism
Country Cambodia
Architectural description
Founder Penh
Completed 1373
The main stupa on Wat Phnom.

Wat Phnom (Khmer: វត្តភ្នំ; "Mountain Pagoda") is a Buddhist temple (wat) located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was built in 1372, and stands 27 metres (88.5 ft) above the ground. It is the tallest religious structure in the city. The pagoda was given the name of Wat Preah Chedey Borapaut. Wat Phnom is the central point of Phnom Penh.


Legend relates that a wealthy widow called Penh (commonly referred to as Daun Penh – Grandmother Penh – in Khmer) found a large koki tree in the river. Inside the tree she found four bronze statues of the Buddha. Penh constructed a small shrine on an artificial hill made by the people living in the village to protect the sacred statues. Eventually this became a sacred site and sanctuary where people would make blessings and pray.

Then it came to the year of the snake 1437 suggests King Ponhea Yat ordered His Excellency Decho Srei to raise the mount even higher when he finished building the new Royal Palace in the new city he then named Krong Chaktomok Mongkol or simply known as Phnom Penh. The prominent stupa immediately west of the sanctuary contains the ashes of the king and his royal family.

Wat Phnom is the center of celebration during Khmer New Year, and Pchum Ben.


The sanctuary itself was rebuilt several times in the 19th century and again in 1926. The interior has a central altar complex with a large bronze seated Buddha surrounded by other statues, flowers, candles and items of devotion and worship. The walls are covered with murals, especially of Jataka stories of the Buddha's earlier reincarnations before his enlightenment. There are also murals depicting stories from the Reamker, the Khmer version of the Ramayana. The newer murals in the bottom tiers are somewhat balanced, traditional and modern.

The southwest corner of the vihear and stupa, is a small shrine dedicated to Lady Penh. The front is often crowded with the faithful bringing their prayers and food offerings to the woman deemed responsible for the founding of the wat.

Shrine outside Wat Phnom.jpg WatPhnom PhnomPenh 2005 4.JPG Phnom Penh Wat Phnom 04.jpg Wat Phnom Temple-1.JPG Phnom Penh Wat Phnom 07.jpg Wat Phnom Temple-3.JPG
Statue of King Sisowath Main stairway leading to the Pagoda. Main Pagoda Paintings inside the temple Inner view Mythological scenes on the wall of the temple

Culture References[edit]

Wat Phnom appeared on the Travel Channel documentary, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. It also served as the Pit Stop for the 4th Leg of The Amazing Race 15.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]