Kandal is a Cambodian province not usually mentioned in tourist guides, and for some reason places like these appeal more to me. So when my sister-in-law suggested we go there, visit some family friends and also visit Wat Vihear Sour, a well known pagoda, I was all set to tag along. We also heard that in this pagoda, there is one temple that is home to a deity, said to be generous in granting wishes of good luck, wealth and specially fertility. I think this is one of the reasons why my in-laws wanted to make the trip. My younger brother-in-law and his wife have been trying for a baby for some years already and now they wanted to make an offering in that pagoda and ask for help to make their wish come true.
When I heard about this I was mighty curious. I’m not Buddhist but that doesn’t mean I don’t try to learn more or understand more of their beliefs. I always try to keep an open mind about these things and who knows if your wish can be granted. We’ve also been talking about having a second child, with the kiddo very eager to wear her little nurse uniform and be a ‘baby sitter’. Lol. So it wouldn’t hurt if we pray for one while we are there. And besides this reason, drives to Cambodian provinces is always delightful for me. You never know what you’ll see or encounter, aside from the lush, almost undisturbed countryside.
We left about 9 am and the drive was really pleasant. Just under 2 hrs with the roads all new and paved. To say that it was a picturesque drive would be an understatement. Most of the places around Phnom Penh are vast and unpopulated. Most are farmlands. Which makes me realize that Cambodia really has a smaller population compared to other places or perhaps majority are just concentrated on urban areas. Anyway, I’ll let the pics tell my story now…
Wat Vihear Sour has this huge ‘lake’..
This pagoda complex is huge and has several temples you can offer prayers and receive blessings. One can offer food, flowers, incense. In this pagoda you can also get some blessed water and wash your face with it for good luck.
A small temple located a few hundred meters from the big main temple is where the fertility deity is…Here you can make offerings, then a group of clergymen called a’chaa will pray with you. If you are wishing for a child, the a’chaa will bless a small lotus flower and put in the swollen belly of the deity and the girl will ‘pick’ it out of her. The couple would then wipe blessed water on their abdomen, then also drink three times. You will then be given the lotus flower to bring home and once you are home, to soak it in water and take a sip three times.
You can also ask for luck for business etc, by offering any bill and putting it inside the deity’s bag. Then after praying for a short while you can get back the bill and keep it for luck. It’s a pretty interesting ritual to see and I do feel privileged to see, experience and be a part of this. This is a part of Cambodia culture one doesn’t easily experience from your usual tourist places..