The ‘Silver Pagoda’ sits next to the Royal Palace, separated by a walled walkway, but within the same larger walled compound. The Silver Pagoda’s proper name is Wat Preah Keo Morokat, which means ‘The Temple of the Emerald Buddha,’ but has received the common moniker ‘Silver Pagoda’ after the solid silver floor tiles that adorn the temple building.
The pagoda compound as a whole contains several structures and gardens, the primary building being the temple Wat Preah Keo Morokat and other structures including a library, various stupas, shrines, monuments, minor buildings and the galleries of the Reamker.
Wat Preah Keo Morokat is unique in several ways. It is the pagoda where the King meets with monks to listen to their sermons and where some Royal ceremonies are performed. It houses a collection of priceless Buddhist and historical objects including the ‘Emerald Buddha.’ And, unlike most pagodas, no monks live at the pagoda. The temple building, library and Reamker galleries were first constructed between 1892 and 1902 under King Norodom. The equestrian statue of King Norodom was set in place in 1892.
Other structures such as the stupas of King Ang Doung Stupa King Norodom (1908), the Kantha Bopha memorial sanctuary (1960) and others were added later. The temple received major reconstruction in 1962 and further renovations 1985-1987, particularly to the Reamker fresco murals.
Many of the temple treasures were looted during by the Khmer Rouge 1975-1979, but fortunately the Khmer Rouge chose to keep much of the collection intact for propaganda purposes.
Silver Pagoda buildings
1. Wat Preah Keo Morokat : Wat Preah Keo Morokat is also known as the ‘Silver Pagoda’ the ‘Temple of the Emerald Buddha.’ It is known as the ‘Silver Pagoda’ for the 5329 silver tiles that cover the floor. Each tile was handcrafted and weighs 1.125kg. The vihear serves less as a functioning temple than a repository for cultural and religious treasures, containing over 1650 precious objects.
The primary Buddha, sitting on a gilded dais above all others in the temple, is the Emerald Buddha, reported by different sources to be made of emerald or baccarat crystal. In front of the Emerald Buddha stands Buddha Maitreya (Buddha of the Future,) a 90 kg golden standing Buddha encrusted with 2086 diamonds including a 25 caret diamond in the crown and a 20 caret diamond embedded in the chest.
Other objects include a Buddha relic from Sri Lanka in a small gold and silver stupa, a collection of gifts from Queen Kossomak Nearyrith, and contributions and gifts from other nobles and Royals.
2. Stupa of Princess Kantha Bopha : The memorial sanctuary of the beloved daughter of the former King Sihanouk. Princess Kantha Bopha passed in 1952 at the age of four, succumbing to leukemia. The stupa was built in 1960.
3. Statue of HM King Norodom: Equestrian statue of the King Norodom (1834-1904). Completed by French artist Eude in 1875 in Paris and placed on the pagoda grounds in 1892. The canopy was added by King Sihanouk in 1953 to honor King Norodom in light of Cambodia’s new independence. The stupa north of the statue contains the ashes of King Norodom.
4. Stupa of HM King Norodom: Stupa containing the ashes of the King Norodom (1834-1904). Constructed in 1908..
5. Stupa of HM King Suramarit and HM Queen Kossomak: Stupa of the father and mother of former King Sihanouk (r: 1955-1960), grandfather and grandmother to King Sihamoni.
6. Stupa of Princess Kantha Bopha: The memorial sanctuary of the beloved daughter of the former King Sihanouk. Princess Kantha Bopha passed in 1952 at the age of four, succumbing to leukemia. The stupa was built in 1960.
Source: canbypublications. com