Kbal Spean Cambodia Highlights

  • Kbal Spean really is a work of art in the true sense of the word. First came the part of Mother Nature, creating the series of tributaries at the base of the Kulen mountains within beautiful Cambodia countryside, and then more intricate mastery came from the ancient Khmer craftsmen who created a series of carvings on none other than the bed (and banks depending on season) of a river, stretching over 150 meters. What makes the whole thing more impressive is the fact that this area of water starts at one end with a 'natural bridge' (a sandstone block which crosses the river and has a channel which has been created by the natural erosion caused by the flow of water), and finishes with a small, but beautifully formed waterfall.

    The carvings themselves are very intricate, and amazingly have survived the test of time despite their location submerged directly in, or on the banks of the river. Directly on the river bed are a collection of over 1000 lingas arranged in rows, and this gives Kbal Spean its name in Sanskrit, 'River of a Thousand Lingas'.


  • Carvings on the river bed at Kbal Spean, Cambodia

    Carvings on the river bed at Kbal Spean, Cambodia


    As well as these lingas, there are a number of bas-reliefs around the rocky walls of the river and some exquisite carvings of deities, in particularly Vishnu many times depicted in a reclining position, along with many other displays of Hindu mythology. Some of the most illustrious of these are a carving of Shiva and Uma mounted on Nandin, with Vishnu nearby represented sleeping on the Sea of Milk with a naga. Brahma is depicted on a lotus bloom, with a bas-relief of a tower complex close to his head. There is a boulder carved into a large frog, and Lakshmi can be seen massaging her husband Brahma's legs in one carving, and in another spot Brahma can be seen relaxing on a lotus bloom in another area of the river on an isloated rock, only 3 of his 4 heads showing this time.


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