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Neak Tah Dambang Kranhoung (អ្នកតាដំបងក្រញូង)

Khmer. Grandpa Rosewood Stick’ or ‘Grandfather [with a] Rosewood Club’. Name of a legendary figure who stands at the origin of the name of Battambang, a city and province in Cambodia. He is described as a Khmer farmer, with a dark complexion, who possessed a black magic stick or club, a weapon in Thai known as krabong. According to legend, he at some point in the past led a military campaign against Siamese occupying forces, defeating them with his powerful magical black stick. After he liberated the territory, he was made king. However, after a while he was challenged by a young man who sought to seize his throne. In an attempt to protect his position, he threw his black stick at the young usurper. But, unfortunately, the magical power of his black stick had by then run out and became useless in his defence, and when throwing the stick at his usurper, it actually fell in an unknown location and went missing, never to be found again. The area where the club went missing was later named after this legend, i.e. Bat Dambang, which literally means ‘Lost Stick’, which over time became transliterated as Battambang, whereas the farmer-turned-king became known as Phreah Bat Dambang Kranhoung, which means the ‘King [of the] Lost Rosewood Stick’ or ‘Lord [of the] Missing Rosewood Club’. A huge statue of Neak Tah Dambang Kranhoung inside a traffic circle on Road 5, on the outskirts of Battambang, reminds visitors of the origin and legendary history of this city. See MAP.