It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That´s how change occurs.
Let your life dance lightly on the edges of time. Combodian Proverb
Wherever you go, Go with all your heart. Cambodian poem
Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is 181,035 square kilometres (69,898 square miles) in area, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest. The sovereign state of Cambodia has a population of over 15 million. Buddhism is enshrined in the constitution as the official state religion, and is practised by more than 97% of the population. Cambodia’s minority groups include Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams and 30 hill tribes. The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political, economic and cultural centre of Cambodia. The kingdom is an elective constitutional monarchy with a monarch, currently Norodom Sihamoni, chosen by the Royal Council of the Throne as head of state. The head of government is the Prime Minister, currently Hun Sen, the longest serving non-royal leader in Southeast Asia, ruling Cambodia since 1985. In 802 AD, Jayavarman II declared himself king, uniting the warring Khmer princes of Chenla under the name “Kambuja”. This marked the beginning of the Khmer Empire, which flourished for over 600 years. The Indianised kingdom facilitated the spread of first Hinduism and then Buddhism to much of Southeast Asia and undertook many religious infrastructural projects throughout the region. Angkor Wat is the most famous of these structures and is designated as a World Heritage Site. In the fifteenth century, after the rebellion of Ayutthaya, which was formerly ruled by the Khmer Empire, Cambodia experienced the decline of power, while its neighbors Vietnam and Thailand grew stronger. In 1863, Cambodia became a protectorate of France, and later was incorporated into French Indochina of Southeast Asia. Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953. The Vietnam War extended into the country in 1965 with the expansion of the Ho Chi Minh Trail and establishment of the Sihanouk Trail. This led to the US bombing of Cambodia from 1969 until 1973. Following the Cambodian coup of 1970 which installed the right-wing pro-US Khmer Republic, the deposed King Sihanouk gave his support to his former enemies, the Khmer Rouge. With the support of the monarchy and North Vietnam, the Khmer Rouge emerged as a major power, taking Phnom Penh in 1975. The Khmer Rouge then carried out the Cambodian genocide from 1975 until 1979, when they were ousted by Vietnam and the Vietnamese-backed People’s Republic of Kampuchea, supported by the Soviet Union, in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War.
Phnom Penh formerly known as Krong Chaktomuk Serei Mongkol (‘City of the Brahma’s Faces’) or shortly known as Krong Chaktomuk is the capital and most populous city in Cambodia. Phnom Penh has been the national capital since French colonization of Cambodia, and has grown to become the nation’s economic, industrial, and cultural center.
Khmer Rouge- killing fields
Khmer Rouge is the name that was popularly given to members of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) and by extension to the regime through which the CPK ruled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. The Khmer Rouge regime was highly autocratic, totalitarian, xenophobic, paranoid, and repressive, murdered hundreds of thousands of their perceived political opponents, and its racist emphasis on national purity resulted in the genocide of Cambodian minorities. Arbitrary executions and torture were carried out by its cadres against perceived subversive elements, or during genocidal purges of its own ranks between 1975 and 1978. Ultimately, the Cambodian genocide led to the death of 1.5 to 2 million people, around 25% of Cambodia’s population. The Khmer Rouge regime arrested and eventually executed almost everyone suspected of connections with the former government or with foreign governments, as well as professionals and intellectuals. Ethnic Vietnamese, ethnic Thai, ethnic Chinese, ethnic Cham, Cambodian Christians, and the Buddhist monks were the demographic targets of persecution. As a result, Pol Pot has been described as “a genocidal tyrant”. Martin Shaw described the Cambodian genocide as “the purest genocide of the Cold War era”. The Cambodian journalist Dith Pran coined the term “killing fields” after his escape from the regime.
Angkor Wat is a Buddhist temple (Buddha-vihar) complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world by land area. Originally constructed as a Buddhist temple dedicated to the lord Gautam Buddha for the Khmer Empire, it was gradually constructed again towards the end of the 12th century. It was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura , the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag.
Angkor Thom (literally: “Great City”), was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer Empire. It was established in the late twelfth century by King Jayavarman VII. It covers an area of 9 km², within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those established by Jayavarman and his successors. At the centre of the city is Jayavarman’s state temple, the Bayon, with the other major sites clustered around the Victory Square.
Banteay Samré (“The Citadel of the Samré”) is a temple built during the reign of Suryavarman II and Yasovarman II in the early 12th century, it is a Hindu temple in the Angkor Wat style.
The Bayon is a richly decorated Khmer temple built in the late 12th or early 13th century as the state temple of the Mahayana Hindu King Jayavarman VII, the Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman’s capital, Angkor Thom Following Jayavarman’s death, it was modified and augmented by later Theravada Buddhist kings in accordance with their own religious preferences. The Bayon’s most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and smiling stone faces on the many towers which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak.
Phnom Bakheng is a Hindu and Buddhist temple in the form of a temple mountain. Dedicated to Shiva, it was built at the end of the 9th century, during the reign of King Yasovarman (889-910).
Ta Prohm (“Ancestor Brahma”) built in the Bayon style largely in the late 12th and early 13th centuries it was founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm is in much the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor’s most popular temples with visitors.