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Located inside of the Royal Palace Compound to the south, the silver pagoda is an unforgettable Buddhist temple for tourists in Phnom Penh. It is an amazing and peaceful place to run away from the busy and crowded Phnom Penh capital. Most importantly, beautiful traditional buildings and their history provide visitors the sight of Cambodia both from the past and in the present. The resources embodied in the statues inside of the Silver Pagoda building bring back a view of the richness of the Khmer civilization. The statue of the Emerald Buddha, golden Buddha Maitreya, countless handcrafted silver tiles, and its surrounding stupas are some of the famous attractions tourists should never miss out when visiting Phnom Penh.
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Silver Pagoda, the Main Attraction of Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
Silver Pogoda is a site where the king meets, worships, and listens to the monks’ sermons. It also serves as a religious venue to hold some important Buddhist ceremonies for the royalty. However, no monks are residing in this temple, unlike other typical pagodas in Phnom Penh and other parts of Cambodia. Instead, there are precious religious and historical objects and statues, especially, the Emerald Buddha inside of this royal pagoda.
The name Silver Pagoda is named after the five tons of handcrafted silver tiles adorned on the floor of the building. This religious building also has a few other names beside the name: Silver Pagoda. The names include Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot (In Khmer, Preah Vihear means temple or pagoda, while Preah Keo Morakot refers to the Emerald Buddha), the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (in English), and Wat Uborsoth Rotannaram (in Sanskrit). Cambodian people know this Silver Pagoda as Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot; however, westerners prefer to call it the Silver Pagoda because of its delicate silver tiles floor.
Inside of the temple Building
We cannot talk about the Silver Pagoda without talking about the statue of the Emerald Buddha. Being high up above all in the building, there sits the famous Emerald Buddha. This priceless statue has a fascinating history as you can trace back to the year 35. So do not forget to visit the temple if you would like to learn more about the statue.
There are 5329 tiles of handcrafted silver cover the temple’s floor and each silver tile weighs 1.125kg. There is a collection of over 1650 precious objects, in which the majority is the Buddha figure.
Apart from being known for its precious silver tiles and Emerald Buddha, this temple is also well known for a life-sized golden Buddist Statue. This golden Buddist Statue stays just in front of the Emerald Buddha. It is a 90 Kilogram pure gold statue of Buddha Maitreya or the Buddha of the Future with thousands of diamonds adorned. Also, there is a 25-carat diamond and a 20-carat diamond in the crown and the chest of the statue. Additionally, there are several other religious and historical objects, which are gifts from other high officials and royalty from other countries.
Outside of the temple building, in the Silver Pagoda compound
There are gardens in the compound of this pagoda along with other buildings, including shrines, library, stupas, galleries of Reamker (Cambodian version of Ramayana epic poem), and a few other traditional buildings.
Another remarkable statue inside the Silver Pagoda Compound is the bronze statue of the late King Norodom on horseback. Other surrounding stupas or Buddhist shrines were built to honor and house the remains of the deceased members of the royal family.
Phnom Mondap is another fascinating hill to tour around in the Silver Pagoda compound. This hill is artificial, and there is a pavilion on the top. Most importantly, on the top, you can find a Buddha footprint in bronze, which was a gift from Sri Lanka. There is also a gold and silver, well-decorated stupa based on Cambodian architecture and religion outside of the pagoda building. The stupa houses the Buddha relic brought all the way from Sri Lanka.
A Brief History of the Silver Pagoda
The pagoda building and its surroundings, including the library and galleries of Reamker was built from 1892 to 1902. The temple was initially constructed by brick and wood, based on Cambodian architectural design. At the time of construction, it was under the reign of King Norodom, the grandfather of the current king. Later on, there were some damages to the building that they reconstructed in concrete in 1962. Other statues and sanctuary were then constructed subsequently after that. Between 1975 and 1979, although the temple was under the control of the Khmer Rouge, the building was fortunate enough to reserve the building and most of the historical collection of treasures. The reason behind this is that the Khmer Rouge kept these buildings and treasures for propaganda. Besides, there was another reconstruction on the temple building between 1985 and 1987 to improve the condition of this architecture.
Visitors can as well find fascinating Cambodian art on the walls of the pagoda. There are murals about Reamker stories on the wall of the Silver Pagoda Compound, which were painted since 1903 and 1904. Unfortunately, a portion of the paintings has been and are fading away. Interestingly, architect Oknha Tep Nimit Thneak and artist Vichitre Chea are the creators of these murals, but the actual painters are their students. In the 1930s, these artistic galleries were the classrooms for the monks.
- Morning: 8:30am – 11:00am
- Afternoon: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
- Note: except when there is any Buddist ceremony in the temple
- 40,000Riels or USD10 (including camera) for a ticket to visit the Royal Palace Compound, including the Silver Pagoda and other areas.
- USD10 per hour for a tour guide.
Location: Inside of the Royal Palace on Oknha Chhun St. (240), Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- No photography allowed inside of the temple
- Take off your shoes and hat
- Food and drinks are not permitted
The silver pagoda is one of a few rare places in Phnom Penh that portrays the richness of Khmer Civilization. Visitors can learn about Cambodian culture and history through the design of the temple building and stupas, statues, murals, and other historical objects. The most important site and objects visitors should never miss to obverse include the design and architecture of the temple, the Emerald Buddha, the golden Buddha Maitreya, and the handcrafted silver tiles. These extraordinary designs and objects cannot be found in other places in Phnom Penh. So the Silver Pagoda inside of the Royal Palace Compound will definitely worth your time and effort.