Phnom Kulen National Park
Phnom Kulen, Cambodia
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Phnom Kulen National Park is a National park in Cambodia. It is located in the Phnom Kulen (Khmer: ភ្នំគូលេន) mountain massif in Siem Reap Province. During Angkorian era the relief was known as Mahendraparvata (the mountain of Great Indra) and was the place where Jayavarman II had himself declared chakravartin (King of Kings), an act which is considered the foundation of Khmer Empire.
Phnom Kulen National Park is located in Svay Leu District about 48 km from the provincial town of Siem Reap and about 25 km from Prasat Banteay Srey via Charles De Gaulle Road. At Phnom Kulen there are several attractive places, such as:
Chup Preah (Khmer: ជប់ព្រះ) is the plain spot where having cool water flows and is located at the mountain’s valley. Next to it, there is a rare big tree of Cham Pa having 0.7 meter diameter and 15-meter height. At Chup Preah, there is a big Buddhist statue and many other small statues made during 16th century.
Linga 1,000 (Khmer: លឹង្គ១០០០) is located on the mountain, along the Kbal Spean River, which is tributary of Siem Reap River and has a lot of figures of Yoni and Linga spreading out at the bottom of the river.
Terrace of Sdach Kamlung (Khmer: ព្រះលានស្តេចគំលង់) is a plain terrace having a small ruined temple made of solid brick at the middle; the study proves that the terrace was covered by lava for hundreds years.
Preah Ang Thom (Khmer: ព្រះអង្គធំ) is an 8 meter tall statue of the reclining Buddha reaching nirvana. The statue is carved into a huge sandstone boulder. Preah Ang Thom is the sacred and worshipping god for Phnom Kulen. There are also two big trees of Cham Pa (Khmer: ដើមចំប៉ា) at nearby. Besides Preah Ang Thom, there are Chhok Ruot (Khmer: ឆ័តរួត), footprint of Preah Bat Choan Tuk (Khmer: បាតជើងព្រះបាទជាន់ទុក្ខ), Peung Chhok (Khmer: ពើងឆ័ត), Peung Ey So (Khmer: ពើងឥសូ) and Peung Ey Sey (Khmer: ពើងឥសី).
There are two main waterfalls in Phnom Kulen (Khmer: ទឹកធ្លាក់ភ្នំគូលេន):
After initial reconnaissances by French scholars, the historical relevance of Phnom Kulen was pointed out by Philippe Stern, who visited it in 1936 and described Rong Chen as the first temple-mountain. In 1973 and 1979 Jean Boulbet and Bruno Dagens published the fundamental archeological inventory and mapping of Phonm Kulen. In 2008 Archaeology & Development Foundation begun Phnom Kulen Program, an archaeological project focused even on sustainable development of local communities.
In June 2013, an archaeological team announced the discovery and mapping of the ancient city of Mahendraparvata on the slopes of Phnom Kulen. The multi-year expedition was notable for its use of Lidar technology to reveal the layout of the city from beneath jungle and earth. 30 previously unidentified temples have been discovered.
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