Nestled in a dense jungle of the Phnom Kulen National Park in Cambodia is Kbal Spean, a serene river with ancient carvings of Hindu deities.

Kbal Spean, also referred to as the 'Valley of 1000 Lingas' or 'River of a Thousand Lingas', is a top tourist attraction in Siem Reap - which is also a part of the ancient Angkor Wat site.

Beautifully carved sculptures of Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva, and other deities can be found along the river, and there are also over a thousand Shivalingas carved on the riverbed.

The Shivalingas, however, are only visible when the water levels are low and the tourists need to trek for 2km through the jungle before reaching the river.

The trek along the Kbal Spean leads to the Phnom Kulen waterfall, and since the site is part of the Angkor Wat site, tourists need to get an Angkor Pass which will cost about $20 (approximately RM84).

But why carve Hindu sculptures on the riverbed?

History Of Kbal Spean

The history of Kbal Spean can be tracked back to 1006 AD! This ancient site was discovered in 1969 by ethnologist Jean Boulbet, when he visited the place with a hermit.

According to inscriptions found, the carving began during the reign of Suryavarman I between 1006 - 1050 AD, and was later continued during the ruling of King Udayadityavarman II between 1050 - 1066 AD. A golden Linga was also consecrated in the site in 1059 AD by King Udayadityavarman II.

The kings believed their people would be blessed after consuming water from the river - as they believed the water will be turned into holy water after flowing through the Shivalingas.

Source: LonelyPlanet and
Image credit: Flicr, Way and TimesOfIndia, CitySeeker