KBAL SPEAN The Valley of 1000 Lingas

Kbal Spean
Kbal Spean

Kbal Spean is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site in the jungle on the south side of Kulen Mountain aroid 1 hour drive from Siem Reap.  Kbal Spean means Bridge Head;  referring to the rock arch at the head of the river   It is commonly known as the valley of a 1000 Lingas; due to the presence of the over a thousand lingas (phallic symbols).
This Hindu Pilgrimage site predates Angkor Wat by some 200 years; making it one the most ancient sites in the region.

You are in Kbal Spean - Roluos - Banteay Srey - Kulen Mountain - Kbal Spean

The Lingas

Lingas on a Yoni
Lingas on a Yoni at Kbal Spean
The lingas in Kbal Spean were carved in the riverbed between the 11th and 13 centuries. They were believed to fertilize the water of the Siem Reap River. These Hindu phallic symbols are normally represented standing on the Yoni or female organ. This takes the form of a square with a protrusion with a channel carved into it.
Holy water is poured over the phallus which flows into the receptacle that surrounds the linga and flows out through the drainage channel.  They are always oriented with the drainage channel of the Yoni facing north.
At Kbal Spean These Hindu phallic symbols were carved in the riverbed during  the dry season; they look more like buttons or in some cases bullets;the largest of the lingas is two metes across.  Lingas are always aligned to the compass; with some arranged on the Yoni as shown here. This  is another representation of the 5 peaks of the mythical mount Meru with additional lingas surrounding it.

The Route

The Walk starts from the Car Park a few hundred metres from the main road 67 which goes to Anlong Veng and Preah Vihear. The waymarked trail is a very attractive route through atmospheric jungle. The path is steep; with some well maintained steps. Sounds of birds and wildlife with hundreds of butterflies enhance the visit which is at its best in the rainy season or early in the Dry season May through to December.
The waterfall here is best seen at the end of the rainy season.  At the top of the falls are numerous carved figures and animals with splendid Vishnu Figures. One of the most impressive features at Kbal Spean was the carving of Vishnu on the rocks by the upper cascade  It was hacked off in 2003 by robbers. An ugly scar remained until August  2006 when a new replacement carving was added. The new carving has blended in well after several years, the  photo shows the figure just after it was newly installed in 2006.
Kbal Spean is seen at its best from May to December. From February the river dries upand the falls become just a trickle; so we stop running tours until the end of April or May when the river starts to flow.
The $20 Angkor pass is needed for this site which closes at 3pm
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For further information on our day and multi day tours which include Kbal Spean see