Preah Vihear Temple

KTMphil

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Situated on the top of Pey Tadi, on the Dangrek Mountain Range, that separates Cambodia from Thailand is the Preah Vihear Temple.

It would be hard to find another temple shrouded in more sovereign ownership turmoil.



_DSC1545_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr


The temple was originally built 9th century AD & dedicated to the Hindu & Shiva mountain Gods. The oldest remains from the temple date back to the 10th century AD (Koh Ker period). Most of the temple was constructed during the 10th century. Inscriptions can still be seen today documenting religious celebrations Khmer Kings Suryavaman, who reigned during the 10th Century AD.



_DSC1549 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr


_DSC1488_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr


Hinduism became an "unfashionable" religion and the temple was converted into a Buddhist temple.
 
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KTMphil

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The temple has been a tug-of-war ownership battle between Thailand and Cambodia for many many years. In the early 1900's, Colonial French, ruling Cambodia, used the mountain watershed line method (from the ridge line, which side the rain water ran down the mountain showed the boundary) to survey.

This placed "most" of Preah Vihear Temple on the Siam (Thailand) side of the boundary line. However in 1907 a French survey map showed the boundary line deviating from the watershed line, placing Preah Vihear Temple ALL in Cambodian territory, with no explanation.


DSC_0408 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



In 1954 French troops withdrew from Cambodia & the Thai army occupied to the temple in an attempt to claim sovereignty. The Cambodian authorities filed an action with the International Court of Justice that this was Cambodian territory. The court focused on the 1907 French survey map, at the court hearing in The Hague, acting on behalf of Cambodia, was U.S Secretary of State, Dean Acheson. Arguing on behalf of Siam (Thailand) was former British Attorney General, Frank Soskice.

Siam argued that the 1907 French survey map was not an official document as it didnt follow the watershed line surveys. They also stated that they had not protested about the French survey map because they already had possession of the temple.


In 1962, the court ruled that the Temple belonged to Cambodia & Thailand must also return all antiques and relics associated with the temple. The fact that Thailand did not complain for 5 decades after the French survey map was finished (showing it on Cambodian soil), was instrumental in the courts' decision.

Furious Thailand boycotted the South East Asia Treaty meeting to show disgust for the U.S's bias towards Cambodia in the dispute. At the handover of the temple to Cambodia, rather than lowering the Thai flag, the whole pole was dug up and removed with the Thai flag still flying. The pole was then replanted with the Thai flag still flying on a nearby cliff, where it still stands.


Looking from the ridge line into Thailand


_DSC1468_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr
 
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KTMphil

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In 1963, Cambodia officially took possession of the Preah Vihear Temple. Prince Sihanouk (Cambodia's leader) & about 1,000 guests climbed up the cliff (it's steep from the Cambodian side) for the ceremony. Cambodia's leader announced that Thai's could visit the temple any time without visa's.


_DSC1528_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



Khmer Rouge & civil war in Cambodia in the 1970's made the mountain top temple a strategic military base for the defending soldiers loyal to the Lon Nol government. During the civil war, it was still possible to visit the temple from the Thai side.


The Khmer Rouge Army made several attempts to take the temple and finally succeeded in May, 1975. Forces loyal to Lon Nol, stepped across the border into Thailand and surrendered to the Thai army. This was the last place in Cambodia to fall to the Khmer Rouge Army.


This of course made a real mess of the superb ancient temple


DSC_0424_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr


DSC_0417 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr






DSC_0419 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



DSC_0425 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr
 
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KTMphil

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In December, 1978, the Vietnamese Army invaded Cambodia to overthrow the Khmer Rouge ruling Army. Battles continued all through the 1980's & early 90's making the Temple inaccessible. It briefly opened for a period in 1992, then was "repossessed" by the Khmer Rouge forces.

In 1998 the Khmer Rouge Army surrendered in Phnom Penh and the temple re-opened from the Thai side.


DSC_0412 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



In 1979, Thai General,Kriangsak Chomanan, who had come to power through a Thai military coup, announced that they were about to expel numerous Cambodian refugees from Thailand. Just over 1,000 were picked by foreign countries for exile, the rest, some estimate as many as 40,000 were loaded onto buses and taken up to the Preah Vihear temple and told to walk down the cliff-side into Cambodia, through a multitude of landmines.

At the bottom of the cliff, were fields full of landmines, its estimated over 3,000 refugees were killed by mines on the walk back into Cambodia.

Looking down the cliff into Cambodia from the Preah Vihear temple

_DSC1533_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



In 2003, Cambodia finally built a road up the cliff-side to the temple


_DSC1537_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



The Dangrek Mountain Range, that separates Cambodia from Thailand


_DSC1536_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr
 
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KTMphil

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In 2008, the Preah Vihear temple became a world heritage site. Thailand made protests to this as it implied Cambodian Sovereignty of the temple, although they agreed it had "Outstanding Universal Value".

After 2008, there has been periodic conflicts between Cambodian & Thai military at the Preah Vihear temple border area. In April, 2009 Cambodia protested that 66 stones were damaged by Thai artillery fire. In 2010 Cambodia filed a complaint with Google Maps about the boundry / watershed line shown on their maps, which did not follow the 1902 French boundary map, that was accepted by the International Court of Justice in 1962.


_DSC1478_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr
 
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KTMphil

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In February 2011, when Thai officials were in Cambodia negotiating the dispute, Thai and Cambodian troops clashed, resulting in injuries and deaths on both sides.[SUP][24][/SUP] Artillery bombardment in the area occurred during the conflict. The Cambodian government has claimed that damage occurred to the temple.[SUP][25][/SUP] However, a UNESCOmission to the site to determine the extent of the damage indicates that the destruction is a result of both Cambodian and Thai gunfire.[SUP][26][/SUP][SUP][27][/SUP]
Since February 4, both sides have used artillery against each other, and both blame the other for starting the violence.[SUP][28][/SUP] On February 5, Cambodia had formally complained in a letter to the U.N. "The recent Thai military actions violate the 1991 Paris Peace Accord, U.N. Charter and a 1962 judgment from the International Court of Justice", the letter claims.[SUP][29][/SUP] On February 6, the Cambodian government claimed that the temple had been damaged. Cambodia's military commander said: "A wing of our Preah Vihear temple has collapsed as a direct result of the Thai artillery bombardment".[SUP][30][/SUP] However, Thai sources spoke only of minor damage, claiming that Cambodian soldiers had fired from within the temple.[SUP][31]

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preah_Vihear_Temple


Access is currently only possible from the Cambodian side. You can take your vehicle up the steep road at your own risk, there are pickup's and motorcycle taxi's available to take you up, which is the most common method.

With the continued disputes, its currently "unlikely" that Thai passport holders will be allowed to visit the temple.


_DSC1454_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr[/SUP]
 
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KTMphil

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Following a February 2011 request from Cambodia for Thai military forces to be ordered out of the area, judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by a vote of 11-5 ordered that both countries immediately withdraw their military forces, and further imposed restrictions on their police forces. The court said this order would not prejudice any final ruling on where the border in the area between Thailand and Cambodia should fall.[SUP][33][/SUP] Abhisit Vejjajiva said that Thai soldiers would not pull out from the disputed area until the military of both countries agree on the mutual withdrawal. "t depends on the two sides to come together and talk," he said, suggesting that an existing joint border committee would be the appropriate place to plan a coordinated pullback.[SUP][34][/SUP] The ICJ ruled on 11 November 2013 that the land adjacent to the temple on the east and west (south being previously agreed as Cambodian, north as Thai) belongs to Cambodia and that any Thai security forces still in that area should leave.[SUP][35][/SUP][SUP][36]

[/SUP]
[SUP]With the Prear Vihear temple mountain sanctioned as a de-militerized zone, Cambodian military housing runs parallel along the base of the mountain range

DSC_0442_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



The main military base at the bottom of the mountain

DSC_0440 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



Military checkpoints around the base of the mountain

DSC_0401 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



Landmine clearance certificate

DSC_0399_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



The road to the temple

DSC_0398 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



Preah Vihear police


_DSC1461_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr[/SUP]
 
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KTMphil

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Some more photo's of the Preah Vihear Temple




_DSC1483 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr

_DSC1513 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



_DSC1559 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



_DSC1456 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



_DSC1457_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr





Towards Cambodia


_DSC1460_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr





Cambodia all over - Slippery when wet

_DSC1464_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



_DSC1469 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr





Thailand in the distance


_DSC1473_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr






_DSC1475 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr




_DSC1476_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr




_DSC1478_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr




_DSC1479_edited by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr
 
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KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
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