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Phanom Rung


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Phanom Rung (Thai: ปราสาทพนมรุ้ง), or, with its full name, Prasat Hin Phanom Rung (Phanom Rung Stone Castle), is a Khmer temple complex set on the rim of an extinct volcano at 1,320 feet above sea level, in Buriram province in the Isan region of Thailand. It was built in sandstone and laterite in the 10th to 13th centuries. It was a Hindu shrine dedicated to Shiva, and symbolises Mount Kailash, his heavenly dwelling.


Thailand's Department of Fine Arts spent 17 years restoring the complex to its original state from 1971 till 1988. On 21 May, 1988, the park was officially opened by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. In 2005, the temple was submitted to UNESCO for consideration as a future world heritage site.



After the three-leveled lower stairway, the visitor finds himself on the first cruciform platform with a first peek at the main temple. On the right, northward, is Phlab Phla or the White Elephant House. The pavilion is believed to be the place where kings and the royal family would change attire before rituals. Royalty would then enter the Processional Walkway, one of the most impressive elements of the park. It is 160 meters long and bordered by seventy sandstone posts with tops of lotus buds. The Walkway itself is paved with laterite blocks.


The Walkway leads to the first of three naga bridges. The five-headed snakes face all four directions and are from the 12th century. This bridge represents the connection between heaven and earth. The naga bridge leads to the upper stairway, which is divided into five sets. Each set has terraces on the sides. The last terrace is wide, made with laterite blocks. It has a cruciform shape and four small pools. A couple more steps lead to the second naga bridge. It has the same shape as the first one, only smaller. In the middle the remains of an eight petalled lotus carving can be seen.


This final terrace leads to the outer gallery. It probably used to be a wooden gallery with a tiled roof, but only a raised floor of laterite remains. After the outer gallery one reaches the inner gallery, which is divided in long and narrow rooms. It served as a wall around the principal tower. This last gallery leads to the third and last naga bridge, another small copy of the first one.


The bridge leads you directly into the main sanctuary. After the antechamber and the annex, one reaches the principal tower. Double porches lead out in all directions. The inner sanctum used to have the "linga", the phallic symbol of Shiva. Currently, only the "somasutra" remains which was used to drain water during religious rites. The entrances have various lintels and icons depicting Hindu religious stories, e.g. the dancing Shiva and the five Yogi's. The southern entrance is guarded by a sandstone statue.


Apart from the main tower, other buildings in the compound are:


- Two brick sanctuaries built around the 10th century, northeast of the tower.


- The minor sanctuary southwest of the tower with a sandstone altar for a sacred image. It was built with sandstone in the 11th century. Prang Noi has only one entrance facing east. The sanctuary is square with indented corners, giving it a round feel.


- Two Bannalai southeast and northeast of the principal tower. The buildings are rectangular and have only one entrance. They were built in the last period, around the 13th century, and used as a library for holy scriptures.


Extracted from Wikipedia: Phanom Rung

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  • 1 year later...

I went there on the way back from the Surin elephant round-up last November. its one of the nicest architectural spots I have been too and well worth a visit.

Edited by biggles
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I went there as well with a girl's family a couple weeks ago. Definitely neat to see. Of course, if you are in Buriram you must see it - partly because it's cool to see and partly because there's not a whole lot else to see :GrinNod1:


I'm still trying to gather up my pics for a "First Visit to the Village" trip report but here are a couple of shots of Phanom Rung. The first is from the long walk up to the main complex. The second is of the main buildings inside the complex. The third is of me, the girl, and the relatives that came with us. Believe or not, all these people fit in one pick-up truck - Me, the girl, the girl's mom, and the driver in the cab, and everyone else in the back. Ah Issan, it is alluring and repulsive, beautiful and ugly, simple and complex - all at the same time...


The long walkway up to the main complex...



Inside the main complex...



A family photo at Phanom Rung...


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Great photos Gum :GrinNod1:

Does remind me alot of Phimai a place ive had the good fortune of visiting many times.

Seems like another place in Issan i have to get round to visiting :)

ps-great info there Braveheart many thanks.

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