On February 4th, local authorities and villagers gathered at the pagoda to pay their final respects to the late King Sihanouk. The king, who passed away in November, was cremated in Phnom Penh after a three-month period of mourning and rememberance. Everyone was very honored to be part of this final ceremony for their beloved king.
A few days later, the Ministry of Culture & Fine Arts and Global Heritage Fund agreed to a 3-year MoU. The final phase of the conservation project will concentrate on reconstructing the west gallery of Banteay Chhmar Temple. Meanwhile, inside the temple, the major work on Tower #18 has been completed and the scaffolding is being removed. The tower bears an excellent Bayon-style face. We all look forward to working with Kim Sothin and other ministry officials on the successful completion of this wonderful conservation work.
Finally, officials from the Ministry of Forestry held a meeting to discuss a potential project. They would like to start a tree-planting project whereby visitors will have the opportunity to make a donation and “plant a tree” in the temple or in the community. The details still need to be worked out, but we think a lot of visitors will be interested in this project. It will help the environment, provide some additional income to villagers for managing the project and add some savings into the CBT community fund.