RELIGION

Golden urn holding Buddha relics returned to Cambodia shrine

  • A chariot carrying a golden urn makes its way during a procession in Oudong, Kandal province, northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, May 20, 2016. Thousands of Cambodians joined a procession to return what they believe are Buddha’s relics to a mountain-top shrine from where they were stolen three years ago. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

    A chariot carrying a golden urn makes its way during a procession in Oudong, Kandal province, northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, May 20, 2016. Thousands of Cambodians joined a procession to return what they believe are Buddha’s relics to a mountain-top shrine from where they were stolen three years ago. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cambodian Cult and Religion Minister Him Chhem, right, holds a golden urn during a procession in Oudong, Kandal province, northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, May 20, 2016. Thousands of Cambodians joined the procession to return what they believe are Buddha’s relics to a mountain-top shrine from where they were stolen three years ago. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

    Cambodian Cult and Religion Minister Him Chhem, right, holds a golden urn during a procession in Oudong, Kandal province, northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, May 20, 2016. Thousands of Cambodians joined the procession to return what they believe are Buddha’s relics to a mountain-top shrine from where they were stolen three years ago. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)  (The Associated Press)

  • Buddhist devotees pray during a march returning the golden urn believed to be holding Buddha's relics at Oudong, in Kandal province, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, May 20, 2016. Thousands of Cambodians joined a procession to return what they believe are Buddha's relics to a mountain-top shrine from where they were stolen three years ago. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

    Buddhist devotees pray during a march returning the golden urn believed to be holding Buddha's relics at Oudong, in Kandal province, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, May 20, 2016. Thousands of Cambodians joined a procession to return what they believe are Buddha's relics to a mountain-top shrine from where they were stolen three years ago. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)  (The Associated Press)

Thousands of Cambodians have joined a procession to return what they believe are Buddha's relics to the mountaintop shrine from where they were stolen three years ago.

The golden urn containing the relics was placed in a decorated car and driven some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh to the Oudong mountain shrine on Friday.

The reinstallation took place on a national holiday to celebrate Buddhism's holiest day marking the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha.

Monks, government officials, students and laypeople joined the procession.

The urn was stolen from the shrine in 2013 and recovered a year later but was temporarily placed at the Royal Palace. Four guards at the shrine and one more person were arrested.