The Trapeang Prasat Temple: A Small yet Important Vestige of History

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The Trapeang Prasat temple consists of three towers that have stood in this tranquil setting of Oddar Meanchey province for more than a millennium.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this Hindu temple is located in a village, commune as well as district named Trapeang Prasat after it in this western part of the country near the Thai border. Its towers are located 500 meters or so from the roundabout of the Trapeang Prasat District hall.

These three towers are square structures set on a laterite platform. While they are built of bricks, the middle one has two doorframes on the west side that are made of sandstone. A moat may originally have surrounded the temple as vestiges left suggest. But its 200-meter pond still spreads from east to west in front of Trapeang Prasat although water tends to completely evaporate during the dry season, notes the Oddar Meanchey province’s Department of Tourism. 

According to Hong Yoeun, director of the provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts, fragmentation appeared in the monument’s structure about three years ago. Fortunately, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts immediately took action to reinforce its foundation, he said. This took care of the issue and, since there has been no other sign of fragmentation since, no further restoration project is planned at this point, he added.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Culture has made plans to develop and promote Trapeang Prasat as a cultural tourist destination, Yoeun said.   

Phos Chea Kosal, who is a member of the Trapeang Prasat District Council, said that work toward this goal is progressing at a good pace. "The project of developing the temple site into a tourist site mainly involves setting up features to attract visitors,” he said. “The project focuses on creating a public park in front of its ground, and building roads around the temple. Moreover, lights will be installed to illuminate the front pond."

Even though the project still is incomplete, Kosal said he has already noticed an increasing number of visitors who come to enjoy the site while others use it as a peaceful setting to exercise. In view of this, he has high hopes that Trapeang Prasat will become one more tourist destination in Oddar Meanchey province, he said.

Thinny Monyreaksmey, director of the Oddar Meanchey Provincial Department of Tourism, went even further. In his opinion, this centuries-old temple has the potential of becoming a major tourist attraction not only for Trapeang Prasat District but also for the province.

This temple is also referred to as the Southern Trapeang Prasat as 300 meters to its north stands another monument. Called the Northern Trapeang Prasat, this temple is built of laterite and sandstone as well.

Written in Khmer for ThmeyThmey News, this article was translated by Song Daphea.

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