The Apsara Authority announced plans yesterday to excavate the northern and southern ponds of Angkor Wat in late April to review the ponds’ structure before repairs are conducted at a later date.
Ly Vanna, Apsara Authority’s director of conservation of monuments, said the excavation is in line with suggestions made by the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor.
“The excavation will allow experts to better understand the structure of the ponds as well as the quality of the stones,” he said. “We are asking ourselves how it could be improved.”
He said the project is aimed to repair and restore the ponds to improve the value of the surrounding area, as the ponds have attracted tourists.
At the same time, the Apsara Authority is asking both local and foreign tourists for their understanding as the excavation will begin one or two months after Khmer New Year.
Un Munypheakdey, a tourist living in Phnom Penh, expressed his support for the project. He said repairing and restoring the ponds will enhance the beauty of Angkor Wat.
“It has been so long since these ponds have seen its shore, it would be more beautiful when the shores are restored,” he said.
The pond is considered to be a major tourist attraction. However, the ponds dried in December 2015 after a drought during the rainy season. The Apsara Authority continue to pump water into the ponds every ten days.
Seng Chamroeun, a Japanese-speaking tour guide, said aside from visiting Angkor Wat temple, tourists also gave their attention to the two ponds because it often makes for a good photo opportunity when the reflection of the temple is upon the water.
“Without the pond, it would seem as if we could lose a lot of tourists visiting the area,” he said.