Monday, February 11, 2013
Now that Royal funeral is over and done, the grounds of Veal Preah Man (a.k.a. Veal Preah Meru), the funerary complex of the late King Father Sihanouk, is open to the public for the first time since it was constructed. The entire complex except the interior of the central crematorium was open today. I don't know how long it will remain open or the hours, but today the guard there told me that it would be open for at least the immediate future.
This entire complex was constructed specifically and exclusively for the funeral of the late King Father Sihanouk. Similar crematoriums were built for previous Kings of Cambodia (including Sihanouk's father King Suramarith in 1960) on this same spot, and then dismantled sometime after the funeral, leaving an open park. I don't know when or if this complex will be similarly dismantled, but assume it will. There was some talk before the funeral that it would be left in place, but it does not appear to be built to last. Much of the construction is just painted plasterboard and in my inexpert opinion wouldn't last long in the rain. If you want to see Veal Preah Man close up and in all its splendor, I think you should visit fairly soon.
If you happen to be touring Cambodia right now, or have any interest in Cambodian culture or history, this is a absolutely unique opportunity to see a fleeting bit of living Cambodia history.
It is located in on Sothearos Blvd between streets 178 and 184 in Veal Preah Man Park, next to the Royal Palace and in front of the National Museum
The Cambodia Daily: In Pictures, Cambodia Prepares for King Father’s Cremation
LTO: Funeral of Sihanouk: Final Touches
LTO: Funeral of Sihanouk: Day 4, cremation