Kulen Mountain, Siem-Reap

Quick Facts:

Located about 50km northeast of Angkor Complex, Kunlen Mountain is considered the most sacred mountain in Cambodia because of its majestic beauty and historical value. It attracts a large number of domestic and foreign visitors at weekends and festivals.

Phnom Kulen (means "mountain of the lychees") stretching nearly 13km along the Angkor plain consists of a set of plateaus and small mountains with an average height of 40m. Sandstone is the major material which constitutes mountain's geology. Travelers have to drive up about 2 hours to the sacred hilltop where concentrated 56 Angkor temples made of bricks and volcanic stones in the reign of King Jayavarman II. He declared of independence from Java in 804 CE here and founded the ancient Khmer Empire. Although most of them are in poor condition and need to be upgraded, Phnom Kulen is still known as a pilgrimage destination with special religious significance for Hindus and Buddhists, among them Rong Chen in pyramidal shape is the first mountain temple built by Jayavarman II and basically remains intact until now. Nearby is 16th century Buddhist monastery Preah Ang Thom where stores a giant reclining Buddha representing the sacred and worshipping god for Ku Len Mountain.

Another attractive spot in Phnom Kulen is a breathtaking waterfall divided into two parts. The first waterfall is just 4 or 5 meters height while the second one has the height of 15 to 20 meters. The water in downstream finally flow into Tonle Sap Lake. Khmers believe that the source of water in here is sacred and can bless, so they often bottle it to carry on their home.

Phnom Kulen National Park also belongs to Kunlen Mountain area, stretching the districts of Svay Len and Va Rin. It is constructed for the purpose of entertainment as well as preservation of natural landscapes and historical monuments.

On September 1, 1992, Phnom Kulen Mountain was added to the World Heritage Tentative List in the Cultural category by UNESCO. This confirmed it is really a precious asset of humanity need to be concerned and conserve.

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