Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Kampong Cham

Yesterday's excursion was a short distance from Kampong Cham. There is a pair of small hills, each with a temple on the top. We only went to Phnom Pros (the hill of the men), not to Phnom Srei (the hill of the women), mostly because there's a road up to the top of Phnom Pros, and only 500 stairs up to the top of Phnom Srei. The temple on Phnom Pros is really a complex of many structures, some elaborate and covered with carvings and gold leaf, some very plain and spartan. There are many monkeys wandering around the place, and a reclining gold Buddha that must be 40 feet from head to [decorated] toes.

Legend has it that the two hills were built many centuries ago in a contest between the men of the region and the women. The women won, using subterfuge to fool the men into thinking a night monster was lurking. The ladies knew it was a fake monster, and kept working. What they gained for winning the contest was the right to propose marriage to men, instead of waiting to be chosen.

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