Cambodian villagers pray to 'sacred' tree trunk that righted itself

Phnom Penh, Cambodia - The stump of a 200-year-old tree that was recently felled has become an object of veneration for Cambodian villagers, local media reported Wednesday.

Villagers in Sanlong commune near Phnom Penh said the stump of the bodhi tree, which had lain on its side since being cut down in a road-widening project in November, righted itself of its own accord overnight two weeks ago.

"My dog was barking, so my wife looked out from the house and saw the tree base was slowly standing upright again," villager Khai Lorn told The Phnom Penh Post newspaper.

Monks placed umbrellas and a tent near the 2-metre-tall stump to allow people to pray and leave offerings, a local monk said.

"The bodhi tree is supposed to be a magical tree because the Buddha gained enlightenment under one," monk Sok Suon said.

He added that hundreds of people had since come to the tree to pray and remove bits of bark or root to make healing cups of tea.

Cambodia is a predominantly Buddhist nation, and superstitions run deep in rural areas. Last week, villagers outside Phnom Penh held a wedding ceremony for two pythons in a bid to ensure good fortune.