THE FIRST TIME I SAW
PRINCE SISOWATH TESSO 親王
Cambodia’s PRINCE SISOWATH TESSO on his first visit to Angkor Wat
柬埔寨的Prince Sisowath Tesso親王細說首次參觀吳哥窟的感受
THE IMAGE OF Angkor Wat’s ancient towers has thrilled me since I was a child. But it was only at the age of 35 that I was finally able to visit Cambodia’s famous temple.
Crossing the Naga bridge that leads to the temple, I could feel my heart rate spiking. I took small steps forward. When I entered the temple and gazed at Angkor’s majestic towers, I felt very small. I was frozen on the spot, struck down by such a beautiful structure.
Soon, I was being jostled by tourists, and I realised that I was blocking the way and had to move. I climbed the steep steps, appreciating that 1,000 years ago, I would’ve been among the many men and women who came here to pray to the god Vishnu.
At the base of one column I heard the chants of a monk, so I sat down to light incense sticks to pay my respects to Buddha. I asked him to grant me one wish: I wanted to come back to live in Cambodia (I was living in Paris at the time), the country of my ancestors.
It was midday. The sun was strong and the heat was unbearable – I was thirsty, but had forgotten to bring a bottle of water. Picking up my pace, I climbed the last steps to the top. From Angkor’s summit there was the most wonderful panorama. It’s hard to understand how men had been able to climb up, moving stones here and there, to construct such a temple.
Prince Sisowath Tesso is a dancer and director of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia, which is performing at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre on 25, 26 and 27 August, and in Phnom Penh during 15-17 December