The Kulen Ranges : Mother to the Temples

The Kulen ranges, about 48 kilometers North of the Town of Siem Reap, variously known as Phnom Kulen, Mahendraparvata or simply the mountain of the Lychees, perhaps attained sacredness well into anything Angkor. In 802 CE, the King jayavarman II got himself released form the shackles of Javanese and set up his kingdom here in these ranges. The Khmers consider it very sacred place with Lord Vishnu and lord Buddha both present.

Kulen well be called just a series of low hull ranges averaging about 400 meters in altitude. These sandstone ranges later on went to serve the construction of Angkor providing the require raw materials. It was here that King Jayavarman II  went on to establishing the Khmer empire.

Owing to their lineage born out of the Kambojs from Indian descent, these people were well versed with the tenets of Indian sacred Architecture. The imprints of this Supreme Principle one finds in everything at Angkor as also the Kulen. So much so that even the riverbed of the Chup Preah stream has thousand sculptures of the Shiv Linga. It has barely 05 centimeters of flowing water ending in two touristic waterfalls. And the strong belief that water touching these Shiv Lingas makes it pure. So did the King believe, for it was his bathing tub.

Besides, there is a large sculpture of The Lord Himself reclining on his serpent bed with Goddess Lakshmi massaging His feet while Lord Brahma is seated on the Lotus coming from the Lord’s navel.

With such sacred connections, the project Angkor was taken up out of the sandstone quarried out of these hillock ranges at Kulen. From here as per informed belief, it was shifted to the sites of construction by elephants (in the dry season) and by boats (in monsoons).

The projects at and around Angkor themselves might have been difficult to conceive, but for the mother mountain available in such a close proximity to Angkor.

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