We decided to continue with Mr Minnear, our travel guide for the temples on his second day, to a place around 55- 60 km outside of Siem Reap. It was a mountain called Phnom Kulen or Kulen mountain, in the Phnom Kulen National Park. As usual, we had a heavy breakfast and started the tour at 845 am after picking up all the tour participants (almost same as yesterday)
This trip cost is USD 35 per person inclusive of the entry fee. It was a 1.5 hr ride to the top of the mountain and so we got a little chatty with our guide – A was amazed to see big cars on the roads of Siem Reap (big cars meant Merc, Toyota and the like) There were no small cars like for eg, a maruti 800 or a nano.. all big sedan types) and Minnear tells us that these cars were second-hand (dropped off from some other countries) No wonder…
It is an uphill ride, bad roads and it was quite dusty and you might get nauseous especially children so be prepared. I had read about this place in this blog and it was also recommended by my friend Rekha. After seeing the pictures on the blog post, I knew I simply had to go there and we were quite lucky when Mr Minnear had this on his itinerary for the tour.
Upon reaching the top, we walked a bit and lo behold, there in the river bed you could see so many Shiva lingas carved.
As you walk up the river, you can see a lot more, and many more….
At the end you can see Lord Vishnu in Anantashayanam pose and a linga near him. I had seen the pictures on the blog but simply stunned. The guide told us that these carvings were made in the 9th century! I simply couldn’t believe it was this old. The river flows down and then we have the waterfall (again seen in the Tomb Raider movie)
So after spending some time, looking at those beautiful shivalingas, we climbed up to the nearby Buddha temple (had a 100 odd steps to climb I suppose).
We did a quick round and came back, drove back to the waterfall area. The guide showed us one place where the waterfall begins, there was a carving of Lord Vishnu with Goddess Lakshmi at his feet, a Shiva linga and Lord Brahma. The water was so cool in the scorching sun and it was the last day of vacation for all the kids there (the country was celebrating the Khmer New Year called Sankranta from April 14-16 and on the weekend, everyone was chilling out!)
After having fun in this mini waterfall, we walked/climbed further down to the main waterfall, a lot many steps and quite a trek, but the Cambodian kids simply run!
The main waterfall was crowded as well, but we just climbed down to have a look, couldn’t get inside, there were too many people. The water falling was a lot less now since it is summer, I can imagine it to be like the Kutrallam waterfalls during the rainy season. So we spent sometime taking a few pictures and climbed up, was a bit slippery but managed.
Since it was around noon by the time we finished and too hot, we gulped down some tender coconut water, fantastically refreshing and tasty. After this we went on to have our lunch on the way back after which we headed back to the hotel. It was around 38 degree centigrade that day and in the evening, chilled off in the pool…
For dinner we were very eager to have Mexican again but on reaching the market, we realised that it was closed! But then we were so hungry, we just walked into one of the restaurants on Pub Street, gobbled some pizza and lasagna
and did some more shopping in the night market before we headed back home, hoping to wake up early in order to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat the following day…….