More than 1000 Siva Lingas and other rock relief carvings of hindu gods Vishnu, Lakshmi, Brahma, Rama, Hanuman found along a 150m stretch of the Stung Kbal Spean River in Cambodia.
This place is about 25 KM away from the main Angkor group of monuments.
It is commonly known as the “Valley of a 1000 Lingas” or “The River of a Thousand Lingas“.
The motifs for stone carvings are mainly Siva lingams, depicted as neatly arranged bumps that cover the surface of a sandstone bed rock, and lingam designs.
The carving of vestiges began with the reign of King Suryavarman I and ended with the reign of King Udayadityavarman II; these two kings ruled between the 11th and 12th centuries.
The 1000 lingas, but not other sculptures, are attributed to a minister of Suryavarman I during the 11th century, and these were carved by hermits who lived in the area.
Inscriptions at the site testify to the fact that most of the sculpting was done during the reign of Udayadityavarman II.
It is also mentioned that King Udayadityavarman II consecrated a golden ling here in 1059 AD.
It is believed that the Siem Reap River flowing into Angkor is blessed by the sacred lingas over which it flows.
The archaeological site in Kbal Spean river was discovered in 1969 by Jean Boulbet, an ethnologist, but further exploration was cut off due to the Cambodian Civil War. The site regained prominence for safe visits from 1989.
The bridge is a natural sandstone arch 50 kilometres (31 miles) northeast of Siem Reap River. Just after the monsoon season, when the water level in the river starts dropping, the carvings are visible in a 150 metres (490 ft) stretch upstream of the bridge and from the bridge downstream up to the falls.The 11th century carvings in this stretch of the river are a galaxy of gods, the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva and celestial beings; several carvings of Vishnu with Lakshmi reclining on the serpent Ananta, Siva with consort Uma, known as Umamaheswar, Brahma on a lotus petal over a plant stem rising from the navel of Vishnu.
Rama and Hanuman are the sculptures seen not only in the river bed but also on the river banks.
The Kbal Spean river runs over them, covering them with 5 centimetres (2.0 in) of pristine water. The holy objects are designed to create a “power path for the Khmer Kings”.
During those times, the kings used to come here for holy bath.
Locals believe that the Lingas are symbols of creative energy and the river water that flows on the lingas will make the Cambodian paddy fields more fertile.
A lot of Hindu symbols were destroyed during the civil war in Cambodia. But these Sahasra Lingas were not affected because of the surrounding thick forest.