While in Siem Reap we decided to head to the mountain region of Phnom Kulen – a drive that we thought would take 90 minutes turned into 3 hours each way.
Pot holed roads, a lack of infrastructure coupled with a heavy rain the night before meant 20km/hr top speed. A long drive. As we clawed our way up the mountain we came across this small stand filled with bananas. I have never seen a red banana before? (Config: Canon 5D Mark III with 28-70mm f/2.8)
A small bicycle shop.
As you wind your way up the mountain (asking yourself, will it ever end?), you occasionally peak out on the countryside.
The reason why you travel to the top of this mountain is for the waterfall and these runes. Thousands, carved into the river bank as a tribute to their gods and royalty.
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.
Harder to see due to the higher water level.
Just past the runes is a temple with a large reclining Buddha. As you would expect there is a market selling worshipers (and tourists) flowers and other items. It also appears to be the central market for the village.
There was nothing to explain why the Buddha at Preah Ang Thom is reclining. Carved out of rock and painted gold, it is massive.
At the temples I understand the incense, but I need to research the symbolism of the lotus flower petals in the water.
Last shot from the mountain .. the waterfall.
Which is a rather treacherous climb to get to.
Another interesting stop.