Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Welcome to Phnom Penh


Cambodian monks stand in the entrance to Wat Ounalom in Phnom Penh.

Wat Ounalom is the most important Buddhist temple in Phnom Penh, and the center of Cambodian Buddhism. It was established in 1443. The temple complex was damaged by the Khmer Rouge but has since been restored. The main complex has a stupa which contains what is believed to be an eyebrow hair of Buddha.

I'm in Phnom Penh for a while to photograph activities related to the cremation of King Father Sihanouk. Last night I wandered around the area around the Royal Palace and photographed people mourning the death of Sihanouk.

Norodom Sihanouk was a fascinating person. He ruled Cambodia from the time of its independence from France in 1953 until he was deposed by Gen. Lon Nol, who was allied with the Americans in South Vietnam, in 1970. His ouster led to the US' greater involvement in Cambodia and ultimately the genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge.

It's been a few years since I've been to Phnom Penh. The city has exploded. The area around the riverfront is lined with hotels and tourist restaurants. It's hard to move without running into touts pushing their taxi services on you. Still, it's a charming city with a much more relaxed ambiance than Bangkok and I'm happy to be here.

There are more photos from this trip to Cambodia (and my previous work from Cambodia) in my archive.

Finally, most of the photos in my archive are available for editorial use or self fulfillment as prints. If you see something you'd like to use or just hang on the wall, click on the "Add to Cart" button and follow the onscreen prompts.