Watery Ruin



One might think that is a relief of Poseidon, complete with his trident, but this is Hindu artwork—a part of the ruins from the ancient Khmer Empire. This place is known as Kbal Spean and is often referred to as the ‘River of a Thousand Lingas,’ according to the Lonely Planet website. A linga is a symbol of fertility and the river bed is covered with them. I think of it more as a creek rather than a river. This site is located deep in the Cambodian jungle about 50km northeast of Angkor Wat. The river was one of the sources of water for the ancient Angkor area. The carvings are believed to have been a way of sanctifying the water on its way to the temple area.

If you want to visit Kbal Spean, bring your hiking boots as this trail is remote and in a very wet climate. The trail is uphill all the way and can be very muddy. If you do decide to visit, don’t expect a temple. These carvings are scattered out along the river and  can be hard to spot, but they are unique and worth the effort.

The Banteay Srei temple is nearby as well. Visit Banteay Srei early before the tour buses arrive and then make your way to Kbal Spean as not nearly as many people visit this remote site.

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