We finally made a trip to Wat Munisotaram in Hampton, Minnesota. I’ve been back in the US for far too long to have not made this trip – it’s only 45 minutes from the Twin Cities – but can truly and honestly excuse myself on the basis of schedule.
At any rate, it’s an exciting place – with the near-completion of the new and traditionally-style Vihear at the top of the hill, it will be one of the most ‘Cambodian’-appearing of the Cambodian Buddhist Temples in America, and must stand as a particular point of pride for the Khmer community in the area.
I have no idea how they managed to raise the money for this – there’s a pretty small local population – but it cost a pretty penny. It’s gorgeous though, and the group I went with had a good experience and learned a lot.
Some quick shots:
The new vihear from midway up the hill.
The outside shrine nearest the road.
The Buddha-images inside the outside shrine.
The lower shrine in the new vihear. Note the Khmer murals immediately to the left of this central shrine.
The shrine in the new vihear’s upper level. Note the traditional surrounding Khmer-style murals!
Just a great place, and the monk with whom we spoke was, as I have found is the norm (and for which I am deeply grateful), patient, funny, approachable, conversational, and modest. Nearly three hours passed in the blink of an eye, and I have a new friend.
The Vihear Inauguration Ceremony (bon bañjoh sima) will happen from June 5-8, this Summer, and should not be missed, if you’re in the area.