Monday, July 11, 2016

Phnom Kulen - the Holy Mountain, where the Khmer Empire was proclaimed

Picture by Xufanc
Phnom Kulen seen in the distance

The Phnom Kulen plateau lies some 48 km north of Siem Reap and is formed of sandstone. Phnom Kulen National Park was founded to protect the area. Phnom Kulen is considered a holy mountain by Hindus and Buddhists who come as pilgrims. It was at Phnom Kulen that King Jayavarman II proclaimed independence from Java in 804 CE. He was the founder of the Khmer Empire. During the Angkorian era the relief was known as Mahendraparvata (the mountain of Great Indra).

Kbal Spean is known for its carvings representing fertility. Just 5 cm under the water's surface over 1000 small linga carvings are carved into the sandstone riverbed.

Picture by Prerit
At Kbal Spean you find a series of relief carvings in sandstone formations of the river bed and banks

The waters are regarded as holy, the legend says that Jayavarman II bathed in the river and had the river diverted so that the stone bed could be carved. You find depictions of the gods Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Lakshmi, Rama, and Hanuman as well as animals (cows and frogs).

Picture by dalbera
Lord Vishnu in a reclining repose lying on the serpent god Ananta, with Goddess Lakshmi at his feet and Lord Brahma on a lotus petal.

Picture by BluesyPete
A grid pattern layout with the channel flowing out represents Yoni

Picture by Arian Zwegers

Picture by keatl

Picture by Ioreth_ni_Balor

Picture by M.

Picture by Andrew and Annemarie

Picture by krishna naudin

Preah Ang Thom Pagoda ពរះអង្គធំ with the reclining Buddha:
A staircase leads up to the Buddhist monastery founded in the 16th century. The reclining Buddha was carved into a sandstone boulder and is eight metres high. The view from the 487m peak is great. There are also two large Cham Pa trees nearby.

Picture by Charles Pieters

Picture by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Picture by Gareth Bogdanoff

See this video guide for Phnom Kulen.

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