Tuesday, January 19, 2010

1,000 lingas

This massive piece of sandstone has numerous lingas and carvings of the gods in evidence
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.
The top surface, covered in circular lingas, of the same large block of sandstone rock
There are nine lingas represented here, inside the square yoni
Dotted around the riverbed are numerous lingam and yoni carvings
A giant linga at Kbal Spean, within a square yoni
This underwater yoni has five lingas inside and another eight outside
More underwater lingas carved onto a giant slab of sandstone
These lingas are carved into the sloping riverbed at Kbal Spean
More lingas in a dry part of the river just before the head of the waterfall at Kbal Spean
The peaceful Kbal Spean river as it passes over myriad lingas just below the surface

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