PHNOM KOULEN/ KOULEN WATERFALL

 

Phnom Kulen or Koulen Mountain it meaning "Mountain of Lychees" is a mountain range in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. There is a sacred hilltop site on top of the range. Phnom Kulen is considered a holy mountain in Cambodia of special religious significance to Hindus and Buddhists who come to the mountain in pilgrimage.

It also has a major symbolic importance for Cambodians as the birthplace of the ancient Khmer Empire for it was at Phnom Kulen that King Jayavarma II proclaimed independence from Java in 804 CE. Jayavarman II initiated the cult of the king, a linga cult, in what is dated as 804 CE and declaring his independence from Java of whom the Khmer had been a vassalage state (whether this is actually "Java" or "Lava" (a Lao kingdom) is debated, as well as the legend that he was earlier held as a ransom of the kingdom in Java. See Higham's The Civilization of Angkor. During the Angkorian era the relief was known as Mahendraparvata (the mountain of Great Indra).

The site is known for its carvings representing fertility and its waters which hold special significance to Hindus. Just 5 cm under the water's surface over 1000 small carvings are etched into the sandstone riverbed. The waters are regarded as holy, given that Jayavarman II chose to bathe in the river, and had the river diverted so that the stone bed could be carved. Carvings include a stone representation of the Hindu god Vishnu lying on his serpent Ananta, with his wife Lakshmi at his feet. A lotus flower protrudes from his navel bearing the god Brahma. The river then ends with a waterfall and a pool.Near these mountains is Preah Ang Thom, a 16th century Buddhist monastery notable for the giant reclining Buddha.

PHNOM KOULEN/ KOULEN WATERFALL
PHNOM KOULEN/ KOULEN WATERFALL
PHNOM KOULEN/ KOULEN WATERFALL