Phnom Neang Kmao.
( The Black lady Mountain).

Once upon a time, back in early 16th century, to be exact. There was village’s chief from Raung Damrei, Kampuchea Krom (now known as Tay Ninh,South Viet Nam) who lived on the mountain with his wife, and their two children. His youngest daughter, named Nang Danh, was very beautiful with dark olive skin. But unlike most of the teenagers Nang Danh loved to visits the pagoda. She would traveled great distant, alone with the elephant to other side of the mountain to hear the Buddhist teaching. Nang Danh’s father didn’t like his daughter spending too much times at the pagoda. He ordered the guards to watched her but that was not succeeded. Nang Danh managed to sneak out the house,and on bare feet she would ran like the wind to the pagoda,that none of the guards could catch her. His wife suggested they build a pagoda near the house for their daughter. He took his wife advice and he built a very nice Pagoda for Nang Danh. Her parents invited an old monk from the old pagoda, who was Sino-Khmer to come live at their newly built pagoda. Nang Danh would come to hear the monk chanting each day, she was very religious.

One day, her father announced that it was time to planning for her wedding. Her parents told her of their pre-arranged married for her with a son of the neighboring rich chieftain. Nang Danh was devastated. She cried and tried to convince her parents that she couldn’t acceptance of married life, for she had vowed to be a Buddhist nun. Her parents didn’t listened to her, they went ahead with the wedding planned. On her wedding day, while everyone was busying prepared for the celebration Nang Danh sneak out the house. She went into hiding on the mountain and killed herself.
That very night, the old Sino-Khmer monk saw Nang Danh praying in front of her pagoda. But she vanished in the air when he asked her to go pray in her pagoda.
But later, she would re-appear every night, praying at the same spot in front of the pagoda. The old monk then built her an altar, out side of her pagoda for Nang Danh. The villagers claimed they saw Nang Danh walking on the mountain and many claimed to hear her chanting. Some one also found a section of her leg marked in a stone cavern on the mountain’s slope.

Today, Nang Danh’s pagoda is now called Chinese Monk’s Temple ( Chua Ong Tau), the ruins can still be seen on the foot of the mountains Eastern slope. The altar that the old monk built for her is now called The Shrined of the Black Virgin, which still stands on the Black Lady Mountain.

Every year on June 24th and 26th , people from all over the world travels to The Black Lady Mountain( Nui Ba Den), at Raung Damrei province in Kampuchea Krom to attends the festival worships of Nang Danh’s spirit. People would prays, sing, dance and make offerings, and they tells the true story of a young, beautiful, dark olive skin, religious Khmer Krom virgin who rather ended her life than broke the vowed with Buddha.
The Black Lady Mountain at Raung Damrei was the first mountain has the cable cars system in Kampuchea Krom. Black Lady Mountain now known as Nui Ba Den, Tay Ninh,South Viet Nam.

Written by Mylinh Nakry.

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