Wat Thmey: of prayers, broken bones and skulls

A young Khmer Monk watching the incoming Japanese tourists

One of the most defining moments of my travel to Cambodia is to visit as many Wat as possible and even on a road to the Angkor Wat to buy my one-day ticket, my tuktuk driver brought me to this rather unassuming Wat in Siem Reap called Wat Thmey. I knew that it was one of the Wat that contains skulls and broken bones of those who did not survive the horrors of the genocide of the evil Pol Pot but this ones are residents and villagers in Siem Reap.

When I alight from the tuktuk, I noticed that I am with the bus loaded with Korean tourists and I asked around if there are guides, the monk simply replied with a smile. I roam around the Wat Thmey on my own and offering a glimpse of what it was used to be and how it plays now in the ordinary lives of the people and residents.

The stupa at Wat Thmey full of skulls and bones

I saw a stupa where glass walls showed skulls and broken bones which is very similar to the ones I saw in Choeung Ek albeit smaller. I noticed that there were names inscribed on columns of the stupa and asked what the names were for. My tuktuk driver told me that those are the donors who keep the stupa built and also those who sent pledges to support in the upkeep of the Wat Thmey.

Wat Thmey by the way also serves as a monastery for Buddhist monks in Siem Reap. I saw the youngest monk watching over the presence of the visitors to the Wat Thmey. I asked for some photos to be taken with him by his lonesome which Sothy translated for me. The young monk agreed then I took the best shoot for him and showed the photo, he smiled and then giggle. I thanked him and proceeded to come inside the Wat Thmey.

Interiors of the Wat Thmey full of vibrant paintings of Buddhas

The Buddha of Wat Thmey

Inside, I saw the delicate ceiling paintings depicting all the daily lives of the Buddha and even those that the Buddha died. I offered prayers and together with the Thai family who were with me inside the Wat Thmey, I lighted scented incense and prayed for grace, blessings and mercy.

Wat Thmey has found my heart when I searched for the wonderful experience to perhaps redefine myself and rediscover what I missed since living in a fast-paced lifestyle. I stood still and ponder on and knelled and earnestly prayed that the journey ends where I am most renewed and it happened the way I sought for I found peace and serenity in Wat Thmey.

Buddha at the grounds of Wat Thmey

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Categories: Cambodia, Siem Riep | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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