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Overview of Wat Langka in Phnom Penh
Wat Langka is reputedly one of Phnom Penh’s five original wats (1422). First established as a sanctuary for the Holy Writings and a meeting place for Cambodian and Sri Lankan monks, the Wat was named in honor of these meetings. Just southwest of the Independence Monument.
About Wat Langka in Phnom Penh
Part of the radical revolutionary program of the Khmer Rouge involved the destruction of Khmer Buddhism. It is said that there were only a dozen monks alive and in Cambodia by the time the Pol Pot regime fell in 1979. Wat Langka was apparently used as a storehouse by the Khmer Rouge, so it escaped total destruction. Now fully renovated, this temple has an important place in Cambodian Buddhism as it was originally designated the principle library for religious writings. The name Langka originates from the fact that the monastery originally housed an order from Sri Lanka.
This small wat is hidden away to the east of Norodom Boulevard, about a five-minute walk from the Independence Monument. The wat is not signposted in English, but keep an eye out for the spirit houses lining Norodom and head down the nearby alley where industrious workers are making concrete Buddhas — not a great spot for gift-buying unless you’re looking for a 10-foot-long reclining one for someone special. The wat itself is a plain affair.