May 26 , 2006

Cambodian faithful pray to tortoise to heal the sick

A nun holds a terrapin, whose touch is believed to cure rheumatism and other bodily ailments, as she prepares to treat the head of a villager in Kandal province, 20km west of Phnom Penh, May 24, 2006. (Reuters)

A tortoise caught by a fisherman in Cambodia is being kept at a pagoda where it is revered for its healing powers.

Worshippers at the Prasat Raingsey pagoda in Kandal province pray in front of it, wash injuries with water it has bathed in, and even drink its bathing water to cure illnesses.

The Impressed Tortoise (Manouria impressa) was caught by a fisherman in Kampong Cham province. He and his family experienced strange dreams that night, and they decided to take it to the local pagoda for luck. The next night, other people in the village experienced dreams in which the tortoise told them to take it to the Prasat Raingley pagoda.

The tortoise is believed to be a guard of Buddha. Local faiths which believe in the healing powers of animals are fairly common in Cambodia. (Mainichi)




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