Haven’t been writing in English for quite sometime, I would like now to take the opportunity to write an article based on my experience as an enthusiasm local traveler who in every chance possible visit the ancestors’ priceless left-behind monuments.
A few days ago, I visited the panoramio account of JimCA2 and spotted a white Cetiya in the southern area of Phnom Penh which he called one of the few best preserving Prasat in Cambodia. Viewing the photo, I assume that it is just a new building built on the site of the ancient Prasat, and yes it is partially right. The fact is that the Prasat is remodeled. The original Prasat is still standing but without its top, only the walls remain. It opens to the east with three false doors from all three sides. The Cetiya top was built in the early 20th century and after the civil war it was repaired again in the 1988/89. The Prasat now is in white color, with two Dvarapala guarding the east doors. I also spotted the lintel and the colonnettes, but I doubt the authenticity of these things. The Yoni and the Somasutra are also found laying next to the north wall of the Prasat, in their best shape – I presume.
The coordinates given by JimCA2 is somehow a bit misplaced. He puts it at Wat Torp Chombork Meas which is about 3 km east from Wat Prasat where the Cetiya like temple located. You can find the location on the link attached here. Finding the Prasat for me now is far much easier as I usually possess detail info of any Prasat I would like to visit. I then set out with my co-adventurer who by then can help navigate our path with his smart device. Thank to the creation of GPS (Global Positioning System) that now we can locate the Prasat quiet easily. My thank also goes to the locals who with smile and kindness help us with the destinations as much as they could. Well, this is completely contrast from what I experience in the city, people rarely talk to strangers. Eventually, it is about the one who creates the Map of Archeological Sites of Cambodia, without them I could not have visited many Prasat, they deserve my utmost respect.
This is just one example of remodeling the ancient Prasat, I have witnessed some remodeled Prasat throughout the land. One of the best example is in my very homeland, Kampong Cham province. The huge Prasat Nokor Bachey was remodeled in the 16th to look like what it is seen now, a Cetiya. This Prasat has a less-known name : Jayaviraksakti Nagara. Another remodeled Prasat which is also located in Kampong Cham, can be seen by clicking on the link attached here.
In short, those Prasat are remodeled on religious purpose rather than conservative purpose, and usually from Hinduism to Buddhism. However, the Linga, the Yoni and the other Hindu statues are still worshiped as a sacred items by the local who are Buddhists.