Millions bid farewell as Cambodian monarch makes final journey
Half of the country's population is expected to make the pilgrimage to Phnom Penh to pay their respects to King Father Norodom Sihanouk, demonstrating their reverence for him as well as their unease about what his absence will mean for the country's future
For weeks, Cambodians have filed into the capital, ending a pilgrimage which for most is a once in a lifetime event. The streets along the riverside are jammed with traffic while in the parks outside the Royal Palace children dressed in white with black ribbons play and pray with their parents.
From a distance the palace gates _ adorned by portraits of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk _ appear like an entrance to a castle in a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. The palace is tastefully lit against the night sky, its spire pointing at the moon above and shrouded with smoke from the millions of incense sticks burning below.
Sihanouk's legacy is mixed. But as his people see it, he delivered them from Japanese occupation in World War II, won Cambodia independence from France eight years later and finally delivered peace after decades of bitter regional and internal conflicts.
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