I’ve already featured a recording from Kampong Cham in Cambodia (World Sounds #010). This time around, we re-visit this beautiful region with another recording I made whilst visiting in 2009. The principle religion practiced in Cambodia is Theravada Buddhism and has been the state religion since the Thirteenth Century (except during the Khmer Rouge period). As I have previously mentioned, I find religion to be a fascinating part of each country I visit and I always try to learn as much as possible about the different religions, as well as visiting the places where people go to practice their religion. With Buddhism, this means visiting temples, and I have always had very positive experiences in doing so.
Whilst staying in Kampong Cham, we decided to visit Wat Hanchey which was a few kilometres out of town. In what turned out to be a memorable motorbike ride through the Cambodian countryside, we finally arrived at the temple which sits at the top of a fairly steep hill. After an initial bit of hostility from a pack of dogs, we began to explore the temple, as well as enjoying stunning views over the beautiful landscape. Bizarrely, the temple grounds are littered with giant fruit sculptures which represent offerings that are made to Buddha.
Continuing further, we headed toward one of the temple buildings where some monks were praying together. To be honest, it was our ears that lead us to them after we heard chanting and decided to go and have a closer look/listen. I found it to be really interesting from a sonic perspective, so decided to discretely record a minute or so. I kept my distance as I didn’t want to show any disrespect, hence a bit if noise from the pre-amps.
As I have already mentioned in my post about Mosque minaret calls, I am often overawed by the soundscapes that I experience as I travel. And this was exactly the case with the Buddhist chants in Kampong Cham. As the soft, rhythmic chanting floated across the temple grounds, all seemed extemely calm and peaceful. A perfect moment where time seemed to stand still.