Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Kbal Spean is renowned for its rockbed carvings and its myriad lingas, hence one of its names, River of A Thousand Lingas. The idea behind these lingas, or erect phallus, is that they are symbolically meant to fertilize the sacred waters that flow down off Phnom Kulen, the holiest mountain in Cambodia and birthplace of the ancient Khmer Empire, as the water makes its way down to the Angkor plain below. Often the lingas are within a rectangular frame in the form of a yoni (or female form). An inscription found at the site shows that the carvings were begun in 1054 and as well as the lingas there are numerous representations of the reclining Vishnu, Shiva on Nandi, Brahma and other gods, some of which have been defaced in an attempt to remove them.