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Phnom Kulen

Phnom Kulen is in Svay Leu and Varin district, about 60kilometers from Siem Reap provincial town and 25kilometers from Banteay Srei, Phnom Kulen, originally called Mount Mahendraparvata, is the holy mountain where, when King Jayavarman II (AD 802-850) proclaimed independence from Java in 802, the Angkorian empire was born.

This mountain plateau served as the capital of the first Khmer Empire for more than half a century before if relocated south to Hariharalaya, known today as Rolous. As many as 20 minor temples are found around the plateau, including Rorng Chen temple, the first pyramid built by a n Angkorian king, but many of them are difficult to reach. Numerous important sites lie scatted across the mountaintop, which is accessible by foot or by car.

One thousand lingams are located on the top of the mountain, along Steung Siem Reap. The site features impressive riverbed rock carvings include innumerable scores of yoni and lingam that sit on the bottom of a steam from which water flows year round.

Phnom Kulen waterfall farther downstream, is a good spot to cool off after explorations. It has two levels. The first level is 4 to 6 meters high and 10 to 15 meters wide. Depending on whether it is the dry or rainy season. The second level is 15 to 20 meters and 6 to 8 meters wide, depending on the season. Near the waterfall is a small jungle covered laterite temple called Kraol Romeas temple.

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