Thursday, February 19, 2015

Day 9 - Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong River with Bangkok – Southbound

February 2015 - Cruising the Mekong

Day 9 February 14 Cruising: Wat Hanchey–Angkor Ban VALENTINE'S DAY

This morning, visit WAT HANCHEY, a temple dating back to the 8th century and the Chenla Empire. Located on a hilltop, enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area and partake in a TRADITIONAL WATER BLESSING given by local monks.

Tying up our boat.

The children waiting for us. We are encouraged to bring some gifts for them.

Our crew assisting the passengers.

He is so excited as he received some toothpaste and a t-shirt!

There are 193 steps up to the temples which you can climb, otherwise there is a bus.

I am fascinated with the number of monks we see. 

Much more on the Khmer Rouge to come.

In 1975 when the communist Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia, they tried to completely destroy Buddhism and very nearly succeeded. By the time of the Vietnamese invasion in 1979, nearly every monk and religious intellectual had been either murdered or driven into exile, and nearly every temple and Buddhist temple and library had been destroyed.

The Khmer Rouge policies towards Buddhism- which included the forcible disrobing of monks, the destruction of monasteries, and, ultimately, the execution of uncooperative monks effectively destroyed Cambodia's Buddhist institutions. Monks who did not flee and avoided execution lived among the laity, sometimes secretly performing Buddhist rituals for the sick or afflicted

Despite not having any formal administrative ties with other Buddhist bodies, Cambodia allows Theravada monks from countries like Thailand, Laos, Burma and Sri Lanka to take part in the religious ceremonies. Primary reason for this is to make up for the required number of clergy.

Buddhism in Cambodia itself is organised on a national basis as per the regulations of of 1943 and 48. There are two monastic orders of the clergies of Cambodia - The Thommayut order and the Mohanikay order. The first one of the two is the smaller order introduced into Cambodia from Thailand in 1864. It became popular because the support of the royal family but it remained confined to the Phnom Penh area. The second one of the above is the larger group to which 90% of the clergy belonged.

Both the order have their own superior and are organized into a hierarchical structure of eleven levels. The lower seven levels are together known as the thananukram while the higher four levels are together termed as the rajagana. There are 35 monks in the rajagana of the Mohanikay order while the Thommayut has just 21. Every monk is required to serve for a minimum of twenty years to be named to these highest levels.

This little guy was 12 years old and had been there about six months. When asked if it was harder than he imaged, he said MUCH harder!

e is practicing his English with one of our group.

The children latch onto us.

Monk relaxing.

Monks' dining hall

The climb back down to the boat, I rode the bus!

After lunch, enjoy a WALKING TOUR through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Here you will see traditional Khmer houses and visit a LOCAL SCHOOL. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

There’s no tourist industry in Angkor Ban– it’s just a typical riverside village– but it was one of our favorite stops, as we got a glimpse of real Cambodian village life.

Pat and Dick coming up - John watching out for Dick.

Cambodian children are not taught English in primary school. Children must enroll in a private school to take English lessons. These children attend classes after their regular school day. The children we spoke with were between 8 and 14, and they’d only been studying English for one year. We're back at school. Children were so excited to see us and we all brought supplies for the school, pens, crayons, dictionaries.

They happily interrogated us, asking about our families, our age, what we did.

 So happy to practice their English. Some stood up and told us about themselves and what they hoped to be when they grow up. Aspirations like, IT specialist, doctors, nurses, teachers and even a TV anchorwoman. It was not be reasonable to assume that all or any will achieve these dreams.

A couple of the passengers were asked to stand up front and explain where they came from (Texas) how old they were (Andy is 70)  
The tour guide and director were wonderful with the children, they come here weekly and have arranged for supplies and even a white board to be donated.

A funny story, Pat didn't want to say she was in her mid 70s so lied and said she was 45. When they then asked how old her children were to had to quickly do some math.

Dusty road outside the school, the guide, Kinal, had to keep telling not to start under a tree if I didn't want to be bopped on the head by a coconut!

 A stroll through the local market, one of my favourite activities!

Various parts of a pig for sale, ears, tails, cheeks.

 Everyone is so friendly and don't mind us taking their photos. They love to shout hello and wave.

The guide didn't show us this section we just wandered and got photos of these superb statues.

1 comment:

  1. The Buddhist architecture and style of decoration is fascinating!


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