Oudong, also known as Udong, is one of the most popular day trips from the capital Phnom Penh, which is about 40km. The town is located in the north-western part of Kampong Speu Province in Cambodia. The city is located at the foot of Phnom Udong or Oudong Mountain, which is a popular attraction among the tourists for plenty of beautiful Buddhist stupas lining atop the mountain.
Both ends of the mountain contain these historical stupas, which also offer magnificent views of the Cambodian countryside. Oudong mountain is a recommended day trip option for people exploring Phnom Penh.
The town was captured by the Khmer Rouges in 1974 during the Cambodian civil war, which resulted in mass killings of locals by marching them out of the city, along with taking many to labour camps. They also severely destroyed the important temples and plundered them, killing monks.
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Oudong mountain consists of two hills dotted with ridges upon which lie several attractions, most of them being Stupas or Chedis or Funeral sites of ancestors of all Kings.
Phnom Preah Reach Throap - The larger of the main ridge of the twin hill is called Phnom Preah Reach Throap, which translates to Hill of the Royal Fortune. It got this name due to a legend that one of the kings in the 16th century hid the national treasures of the country here. There were hundreds of stupas erected here under the reign of King Ang Duong. Most of them were destroyed in the Khmer Rouge, and only some of them remain today in ruins.
Oudong Chedi - The most popular attraction of Udong mountains is Oudong Chedi, a row of three large stupas or funeral sites. Damrei Sam Poan is the first one on the north-west end, which contains the ashes of the founder of Oudong city King Soriyopor. His son King Chey Chetha II built it. The second stupa is Ang Doung, made by King Norodom for his father, King Ang Duong. The third stupa is known as Mak Proum, dedicated to King Monivong. It is decorated with elephants, flowers and Garudas.
Viharas - Behind Mak Proum lie three Viharas - Vihear Prak Neak, Prak Ko and Vihear Preah Keo, containing statues of seated Buddha and a sacred bull.
Kandal Pagoda - A grand golden pagoda located to the west of Oudong mountain. It is a recently built pagoda with modern architectural design and consists of intricate works of Theravada Buddhism in the interiors.
Oudong mountain derives its name from the Sanskrit word Uttuṅga, which means tall, referring to the mountains. It also means supreme and victorious for being the centre of power and administration for years. Oudoung was founded in 1601 by King Srei Soryopor after the former capital Lovek was conquered by Thais.
In 1618, Oudong became the capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia attaining the name Oudong Meanchey. Udong served as the capital under several kings for over 250 years until 1866, when the capital was moved to Phnom Penh. Almost all of the kings were crowned here, including the last King Norodom, who was coronated.