Cambodia // Battambang and the northwest //

The Legend of Khleang Muong

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An attraction for locals hereabouts is the small, well-tended tomb of Khleang Muong, one of Cambodia’s national heroes. The story goes that in 1605, the Khmer were losing the war against the Thais, when Khleang Muong ordered his soldiers to dig a pit and to cast their weapons into it; he then committed suicide by throwing himself into the pit. Seven days later the Khmer army defeated the Thais with help from the ghosts of Khleang Muong and his army of soldiers. The victory is marked by an offering ceremony here in April or May each year, at the start of the planting season and just before the rains. The pavilion at the tomb contains a life-size bronze statue of Khleang Muong, and a matching one of his wife, who, according to legend, also killed herself. The site is at the village of Banteay Chei, a few kilometres west of town off National Route 5. It is easily reached by moto from Pursat, but it’s probably only worth a visit if you’re at a completely loose end.

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