Photo: More than just a waterfall.

Kbal Spean

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Up amid the jungle on the Kulen Mountain Plateau lies Kbal Spean, not a temple but a natural bridge which lends its name to the river it crosses and the Angkorian site found here, where sacred linga are carved deep into the bedrock riverbed.





The linga — a phallic symbol of fertility representing Hindu god Shiva — along with Hindu deities are blessed by the water flowing across them, which eventually passes downstream once sanctified and into the fields around Angkor and the Siem Reap river. The site was “discovered” in 1968.

River of a Thousand Linga (but not actually a thousand). Photo taken in or around Kbal Spean, Angkor, Cambodia by Caroline Major.

River of a Thousand Linga (but not actually a thousand). Photo: Caroline Major

Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma are all in attendance and the Sanskrit name, Sahasralinga, or “river of a thousand lingas”, gives a hint of the linga abundance going on (though there’s not quite actually a thousand of them). For the most part, the circular top of the linga has been carved, rather than the full 3D effect, sometimes along with the female counterpart of square symbolic yonis.

Kbal Spean also features a small, attractive waterfall – though not as impressive as Kulen Mountain; it’s more for feet-dipping than swimming, as are the couple of small water holes nearby if you feel you’re in need of a bit of blessing yourself. The linga carvings, however, are extensive and split across different levels, as well as there being various sculptures and ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Kbal Spean
50km northeast of Siem Reap

Location map for Kbal Spean

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