A short drive out of the city of Battambang offers views of rolling hills and rice paddies. We drove to Phnom Sampeau, a hillside temple host to fantastic vistas of the valley below. Three kind and quiet monks and a few buddhist nuns reside at the temple.
While the beauty of this place was overwhelming, nothing prepared me for what lay below. The temple watches over series of natural caves that were once host to ceremonies of apsara dancers. In the time of the Khmer Rouge, they became Killing Caves. Innocent people were bludgeoned before being thrown through the natural skylight onto the cave floor below. I was told they only recently cleaned the years of blood off of the reclining golden Buddha at the base of the cave. It is now a place of memorial for those murdered during the genocide.
© Amanda Clifford Photography