Wat Athvea Pagoda
Wat Athvea (Prasat Vat Althea)
The Pagoda of Wat Athvea is a contemporary Buddhist temple, located next to the eponymous Angkorian temple. It is a place of worship which is home to a dozen orange-clad Buddhist monks. The monks, from teenage to venerable old men, provides religious services and blessings, as well as counselling, and help the poorest members of the nearby communities.
Schools and other communities services are often found on the ground of pagodas. Behind Wat Athvea, the primary school of Kroseing Rolling and the Pohmeanchey Health Center provide education and medical services to the surrounding communities.
Prasat Wat Athvea is a Hinduist temple from the late Eleventh Century, built at the same time and in the same architectural style than Angkor Wat itself. Made of laterite and sandstone, it bears little carvings of interest and no ancient inscription, and is therefore excluded from most touristic circuits. Less visited by foreign tourists, the temple is usually secluded and quiet, shrouded in a sacred and solemn atmosphere enhanced by burning incense and candles, but it becomes an effervescent place of worship during annual religious celebrations, most notably during Pchum Ben and Khmer New Year. The lack of carvings indicates that the temple itself has been left unfinished, a fact supported by half-carved Devatas, the goddesses that are guarding the entrance of many Angkorian temples.
To reach Wat Athvea from the centre of Siem Reap town, follow the National Road 63 heading South towards the Tonle Sap Lake. The whole journey is about five kilometers and takes fifteen minutes by tuk-tuk. This winding road follows the Siem Reap River, goes past the Crocodile Farm, then continues for two kilometres until it comes across the large, elevated, unmistakable southern Ring Road. Cross the Ring Road and continue for another 900 meters, until you see a large orange archway on the right hand side announcing the entry to the pagoda. Go down that road for another 700 meters and you will arrive in front of the pagoda and the temple of Wat Athvea.