Udong is a town in Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...
, situated in the north-western part of Kandal Province
Kandal is a province of Cambodia. Its capital is Ta Khmao town . The province completely surrounds, but does not include, the national capital Phnom Penh...
. The town is located on top of the mountain Phnom Udong, about 40 km northwest of the capital Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is the capital and largest city of Cambodia. Located on the banks of the Mekong River, Phnom Penh has been the national capital since the French colonized Cambodia, and has grown to become the nation's center of economic and industrial activities, as well as the center of security,...
. The mountain itself runs from the southeast to northeast, with a low saddle in the middle.
EtymologyThe city's name is derived from the Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...
word: उत्तुङ्ग "uttuṅga", meaning "supreme."
HistoryFrom 1618 until 1866 it was formally called "Udong Meanchey", home to a succession of kings, deposed from the former capital of Lovek
Longvek was a city in ancient Cambodia, the capital city of the country after the sacking of Angkor by the Siamese in 1431. Little more than a village today in Kampong Chhnang Province, it lies just north of Oudong....
by the invading Thais. In 1866, it was abandoned by King Norodom, taking his royal court along with him to the current capital, Phnom Penh. It was extensively damaged by the Khmer Rouge
The Khmer Rouge literally translated as Red Cambodians was the name given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, who were the ruling party in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, led by Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen and Khieu Samphan...
FolkloreLegend has it that in the Arthross Temple (Temple of Eight Points). The Buddha
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...
located here faces north instead of the traditional direction of east, symbolizing a testimony to the strength and power of the ancient Khmer
The Khmer Empire was one of the most powerful empires in Southeast Asia. The empire, which grew out of the former kingdom of Chenla, at times ruled over and/or vassalized parts of modern-day Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, and Malaysia. Its greatest legacy is Angkor, the site of the capital city...
kingdom. In the 18th century, locals say, a Chinese
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...
emperor sent his people out across Asia to identify potential threats. When they came to Oudong, they saw a mountain shaped like a naga, with a cavern on top of the Arthross end, and they observed the wealth and power of Khmer society. The Chinese told their emperor that the Khmers were already a powerful race, and should a naga
Naga or NAGA may refer to:* Nāga, a group of serpent deities in Hindu and Buddhist mythology.-People:* Nayan / Nayar/Nair people of Kerala Society* Naga people, a diverse ethnic identity in Northeast India...
appear through the cavern of Arthross, they would be strong enough to rule the world.
The Chinese emperor did not want this, nor did he want a war. Instead, he asked the Khmer king if he could build a temple above the cavern, with the Buddha's face towards China in order to protect his empire. This was named the Arthaross temple which means "18 corners", because there are 18 points, or corners, built into the structure of the temple.
World Heritage StatusThis site was added to the UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...
World Heritage Tentative List on September 1, 1992 in the Cultural category.