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Khmer legend: Wat Sampov Pram

Khmer Legend cover

Wat Sampov Pram is situated on Bokor Mountain. Nowadays it is put by the government into one of the most amazing tourist destinations to get fresh air at the sea. It lies along Kamchay Mountain in the former Koh Toch commune, Kampot district, Kampot province. But now this mountain is demarcated as a city, which is particularly administrated from Kampot province. Today this new city is renovated to be a modem one. A road bending up and down along the mountain side crossing the valleys toward the top of the mountain has been paved and tarred smoothly. Cars and Buses can easily go along the road, except long trucks since the road is so bending. The road up to the mountain from the divided road of National Road No.3 (Kampot-Veal Rinh) is approximately 32 kilometers long. Since the road is too bending form the foot to the top of the mountain, the cars and the buses cannot be driven fast. Before, Bokor was a place to get the fresh air for European people who were our colonist. This city was ordered to be built by Mr. Fran Cois Marins Baudoin, a Resident Superior to Cambodia and was officially inaugurated in 1925.

Khmer Holistically Place- Wat Sampov Pram In Bokor Mountain

In that time, considering that the French people built this place for their shelter to get cool and pure fresh air, His Majesty King of Cambodia immediately thought of Buddhism, so he ordered to have a monastery erected with land on the top of the mountain with many big pieces of rocks. The strange thing is the at that piece of rock looks like a slab with 10m long and roughly 10m high. The five oddly-sculpted rocks are shaped like the sailing boat. Seeing the shape of the five rocks like the sailing boats and the monastery was constructed near those rocks, so it was called “Wat Sampov Pram (Five sailing boats monastery)” After naming so, it was invented as a tale which was extracted from the existing myth of Preah Thorng and Neang Neak. The story goes as follows:

Long time ago, there was a Khmer prince whose name was Preah Thorng. The background of this prince was that he was dissatisfied with his father who obliged him to respect and obey his younger brother, so he left his royal palace with his faithful men and then arrived at the sand beach with a Thlork tree (Parinari annamensis) growing in the centre of the sand. The prince and his men stopped their journey there and took a rest under the tree. Getting up early in the morning, he strolled along the beach to get fresh air alone. Walking further and further, he heard the human noise. Then he went closer and saw Neang Neak taking her servants to play at the beach, too. He immediately fell in love with her and tried to persuade her to marry him. She  agreed and asked Preah Thorng to hold her tail in order to her world to pay respect to her father.

After he was in the naga world for seven days, he then asked his father-in-law to come back to the human world. The naga king prepared valuable things for the five boats to accompany his son-in-laws to reign on the earth. The five boats opened their sails and began their journey until they got to seashore on the border of the country. The boats anchored one after another to disembark properties and the servants carried them to a place of high land for creation of the city.

These five boats were later reserved for the king to go somewhere for his pleasure. The five hundred men accompanied Preah Thorng and Neang Neak to build a royal palace, leaving the empty boats behind. Long time later the sea receded farther and farther and the soil piled up making the boats stranded on that shore. As time went by, the boats became hard stones to bury the bodies in the ground remaining only their sails as seen nowadays.

This is the tale that the residents invented to match with the real situation of a monastery on the top of Boko Mountain. Actually, according to a study, the pagoda in not very old, but fairly new one which was built in 1924 by His Majesty Preah Sisovath Monivong, king of Cambodia when the administration of the French colony developed Boka area into a resort to get the cold weather similar to Europe. At the time, that French administration provided the king of Cambodia with a place to build his palace on the mountain top; therefore, the king decided to build this pagoda on the land adjacent to five oddly-sculptured rocks, where a small, but beautiful temple and little stupa wercon ructed in front of it and named” ‘Wat Sampov Pram’ adapting the land of five ‘oddly-sculptured rocks, which looks like the five sails of boats there. Nowadays, Boko is an interesting place for tourists to relax on their holiday. Therefore Wat Sampov Pram becomes a well-known resort.

The end

Socheat Mom

Hello, My name is Socheat Mom and I’m Angkor Nation blog founder. I work for a private company in Cambodia as a Public Relations Manager. I was a former Sale and Marketing executive for a website development company in Phnom Penh. Read more

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