Posted by khmernews on November 8, 2006

Wat Sarawoan is located just to the east (River) side of  Norodom Boulevard on street 178. and is better known to tourists and expatriate residents as the former site of Seeing Hands Massage, the massage done by blind Cambodians.

The vihara is over 100 years old and was not destroyed under the Khmer Rouge. As a result, you can see paintings done in a style rather different form present-day art. Unfortunately, many are in poor condition. In order to modernize the vihara, light switches and electric fan knobs have been fixed to the walls right in the middle of some very beautiful paintings.

The paintings relate the usual stories. One unusual scene shows the Buddha levitating along with rocks. I cannot find a reference for this story. The death sequence includes both a scene of the funeral pyre as well as the distribution of relics. One delightful old picture shows the woodcutter Chietdal chopping logs, then repenting after the Buddha tells him not to kill the ants which live in the wood. There is also a rather large painting of Wat Phnom.

The vithara itself is not in good condition, and the entire pagoda grounds bespeak a real poverty. For example, instead of a real bell to call the monks, an old truck wheel is used. There are some decaying colonial house on the grounds as well.


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