Prasat (Hin) Phanom Rung in Buriram Province, Northeastern Thailand

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Stairs leading up to Phanom Rung Sanctuary

Stairs leading up to Phanom Rung Sanctuary.

 

Prasat Phanom Rung is located on top of an extinct volcano. The sanctuary is situated in Chalerm Phrakiat district of Buriram. It possibly is the most popular Khmer ancient monument in Thailand.

Prasat Phanom Rung is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Phanom Hill and the sanctuary on top are symbols of the mountain Kailasa. Phanom Rung was built between the 10th and 13th centuries A.D.

Inscriptions in the area indicate that Phanom Rung was created by Narendraditya, a descendant of the Mahidharapura dynasty related to King Suryavarman II, the creator of Angkor Wat.

Major restoration at Phanom Rung was carried out between 1971 and 1988 by the Fine Arts Department.

Front view of the main temple complex of Phanom Rung

Front view of the main temple complex of Phanom Rung

 

As indicated Phanom Rung is located on top of a hill (tour buses have to work to negotiate it). Leading to the sanctuary is a walkway, a few hundreds meters long. On the way to the main monument, there are 3 naga bridges (one just before the main monument), and lower and an upper stairway. The upper stairway leads to the top of the hill. There are quite a few steps, but it is not hard to climb.

The main sanctury is surrounded by an outer and inner gallery, with arched gateways.

Main tower (left) with mandapa to the right.

Main tower (left) with mandapa to the right.

 

The last Naga Bridge links the middle arched gateway of the inner gallery with the antechamber of the principal tower.

The principal tower stands exactly at the center of the ancient temple complex. While the eastern side is formed by the Mandapa or antechamber, there are double porches built in the north, south and west of the tower. In the inner sanctum the Shiva Lingam was located. The Somasutra, or water conduit, used to drain away sacred water during religious rites, still is there.

The pediments and lintels above the entrances, depict religious stories of Hindu divinities and the Ramayana.

Reclining Vishnu lintel on the eastern face of the Mandapa.

Reclining Vishnu lintel on the eastern face of the Mandapa.

 

In the vicinity of the main sanctuary are two other brick sanctuaries and Prang Noi, a minor sanctuary. There are also tow Bannalais to the southeast and northeast of the main tower, that were used to store holy scriptures.

Because of its location and its splendid view over the surrounding area from the hill, Phanom Rung is popular with both locals and foreign tourists.

Before or after visiting you should also visit nearby Prasat Muang Tam.

Southern entrance to the main tower at Phanom Rung.

Southern entrance to the main tower at Phanom Rung.