Posted on 08/21/2009

Photo taken on August  9, 2009

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Holy Riverbed Carvings at Phnom Kulen

Holy Riverbed Carvings at Phnom Kulen
Outside Banteay Srei, a two hours walk through the jungle, there is Phnom Kulen.

There are numerous of lingas (phalluses) in the waterbed, though not found in as much quantity as in Kbal Spean, the River of 1,000 Lingas. In the Hindu tradition, water flowing over the lingas is sacred and holy, and many Cambodians bottle the water from the downriver waterfalls. In ancient times, these waters, potent with fertility, filled the barays and irrigated the rice fields.

Phnom Kulen was used as the final stronghold of the Khmer Rouge regime and before the construction of a private toll road, was relatively inaccessible or slow going, depending on weather conditions. Even now, tourists are warned not to wander off beaten tracks for fear of hidden mines. Some question that the locals are protecting the sanctity of this spot as thousands of Cambodians visit every year without incident.