The Beautiful Art Form of Wat Kien Khleang
Khiri Travel Cambodia Country Manager Miles Gravett captured the Mongkol Serei Kien Khleang Pagoda, a beautiful temple with impressive Khmer craftsmanship just outside of Phnom Penh. This destination is hidden from travelers embarking on a way to the Silk Island, or Koh Dach. The photos portray the extraordinary local hand-painted murals, a traditional art form to pay respect to the life of lord Buddha.
On the way to Koh Dach, an island north from the capital where the Tonle River and Mekong River meet, only a few kilometers away from Phnom Penh further up the road after going over the Japanese Bridge, we made a stop at a temple hidden away just off the main road.
It is called Mongkol Serei Kien Khleang Pagoda or Wat Kien Khleang. After a grand welcome by the temple’s golden entrance, we found the main ordination hall which is completely hand painted with murals, depicting Buddha’s life story on the wall and ceiling.
They are strikingly exotic, with a relatively contemporary art style. Our guests enjoyed their stop to talk with the monks and walk around to see the architectures and decorative hand painted depictions around the complex.
Although the art form is relatively contemporary, it also looks dated back. We can see that they start to fade and it looks like not much restoration is being done. Like the hand-painted signboards, we’re not sure how long this temple will be able to showcase the paintings.
It is definitely well worth a visit. Some of our travelers made a small donation offered to the elderly resident caretakers who gave us a nice blessing in return. The temple adds more than a colorful stop during our ride around this small, less inhabited road.
It is a lovely experience before we continue our journey to Koh Dach Island, where the Mekong and Tonle rivers encircle the peaceful farmland and its slow-paced local life.
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