Sunday, January 26, 2014

Kbal Spean. (ក្បាលស្ពាន) Angkor, Cambodia

Hi and welcome. Over the New Year my wife, Daniela and I returned to Siem Reap to enjoy the wonders of Angkor a second time. It was fabulous to go back and absorb the atmosphere and beauty of the temples and nature. You can see blogs of my first visit here: Siem Reap, here:Angkor Wat  and here: Angkor Thom.  Many thanks to Wikipedia for the factual comments. I hope you enjoy the photos
 Kbal Spean (Khmer: ក្បាលស្ពាន) ("Bridge Head") is an Angkorian era archaeological site on the southwest slopes of the Kulen Hills to the northeast of Angkor in Siem Reap District, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

The trek up the slopes of the Kulen Hills is a little demanding. In places steps are provided and gratefully used!

Incredible tree trunk

Light and shadow

The site consists of a series of stone carvings in sandstone formations carved in the river bed and banks. You can see a grid pattern layout with the channel flowing out representing Yoni

The stone carvings represent Hindu deities

Kbal Spean is described as "a spectacularly carved riverbed, set deep in the jungle to the northeast of Angkor". The river is also known as Stung Kbal Spean, a tributary of the Siem Reap River that rises in the Kulein mountains north of Banteay Srei

There are various Hindu mythological motifs, including depictions of the gods Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Lakshmi, Rama, and Hanuman, as well as animals (cows and frogs). Here 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

It is commonly known as the "Valley of a 1000 Lingas" or "The River of a Thousand Lingas". The motifs for stone carvings are mainly myriads of lingams (phallic symbol of Hindu god Shiva), depicted as neatly arranged bumps that cover the surface of a sandstone bed rock, and lingam-yoni designs

Upstream of the bridge, there is a sculpture of Shiva and Uma mounted on the bull Nandi

The common theme of these sculptures emphasizes creation as defined in Hindu mythology in the form of Lord Vishnu lying on a serpent in a reclining repose on the ocean of milk, a lotus flower emerging from Vishnu’s navel which bears Brahma, the creator god

Vishnu is also carved to match the contours of the river bed and banks

The Sahasra lingas continue further downstream up to the water fall

It's a beautiful place

It is believed that the Siem Reap River flowing into Angkor is blessed by the sacred lingas over which it flows

The archaeological site was discovered in 1969 by Jean Boulbet, an ethnologist, but further exploration was cut off due to the Cambodian Civil War. The site regained prominence for safe visits from 1989

After the waterfall we begin the walk back down the slopes

Views of the forest on the hills......

.....warm the heart

As does the sight of this little one

More of Angkor to come. Hope to see you soon