Friday, May 8, 2009

Caves of Komnou

Sculpted bas-reliefs at Peung Komnou date from the 11th century (pics by Daniel)
One of the less well-known sites in the wider Angkor area are the caves that dot the northeast underbelly of the Kulen mountain range near the villages of Svay Leu and Ta Siem, with the cave sculptures of Peung Komnou leading the way. Peung Komnou is one of a series of cave shelters where 11th century sculptors carved religious bas-reliefs on giant boulders, which remained undetected until found again by the French some eight hundred years later. At Komnou there are large sculpted scenes involving a reclining Vishnu, an eight-armed Ganesh in meditation and the best of all, a portrait of Shiva flanked by wives and followers. There are other cave sites nearby including Peung Preah Thvear, Peung Preah Put Kraom and Peung Preah Put Loe, though all of them involve walking a few kilometres to reach them, as there are no roads that take you in. Komnou is about four kilometres north of Svau Leu itself. The whole area of Kulen mountain itself and the region north of Beng Mealea and in the northeast lee of the mountain range houses a vast array of archaeolgical sites including caves and many temples, but which have been inaccessible until the last few years when demining efforts have made the area relatively safe again. I've scratched the surface around that area with a couple of visits though Peung Komnou is one site that I have yet to experience myself.
The 8-armed Ganesh at Peung Komnou

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Blogger Droonsta said...

hi, Andy... I popped into the Komnou Caves with Sokhom in the last week of April.. they were some trully amazing carvings!!!! :)
... theres a nice middle/late aged lady that lives/medidates up there on her own....


May 11, 2009 at 9:24 AM  

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