Back to the news page.

Phnom Rung historical park.

Prasat Phnom Rung is situated on the top of an extinct volcano, Phnom Rung, at Tapek Sub district, Chalerm Phra Khait District, Buriram Province. It is one of the most beautiful and important Khmer ancient monuments in Thailand.

This religious monument was devoted to Shiva, one of the supreme divinities of Hindu religion. Therefore, Phnom Rung hill and its sanctuary are symbols of the mountain Kailasa with Shiva's pantheon, and symbolize the center of the universe. The monuments on Phnom Rung were built between the 10th and 13th centuries A.D. The name "Phnom Rung" is from an ancient Khmer word, "Vnam Rung" in Khmer inscriptions, and means "the vast mountain". The inscriptions founded in the area also give the name of Prasat Phnom Rung creator: Narendraditya. He was a descendant of the Mahidhrarapura dynasty and related to King Suryavarman ll, the creator of Angkor Wat.

The Department of Fine Arts has undertaken the restoration of Prasat Phnom Rung since the declaration of the ancient monument of Phnom Rung in the Government Gazette, volume 52, section 75, dated 8th March 1935. Major restoration was carried out between 1971 and 1988. Then the department of Fine Arts declared its boundary, about 178 acres, in the Government Gazette, volume 93,section 141, dated 9th November 1976, and organized the Phnom Rung historical park project which was officially opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on 21st May, 1988.

ANCIENT MONUMENTS IN PHNOM RUNG HISTORICAL PARK.

phnom-rung-historical-park

phnom-rung-historical-park

phnom-rung-historical-park

The lower Stairway. The lower Stairway leads from the eastern slope of the hill to the first cruciform Platform. It was built of late rite and divided into three levels. The platform is paved with blocks of late rite assumed to be the base of the outer gateway, which was constructed of wood with a tile roof.

phnom-rung-historical-park

phnom-rung-historical-park

phnom-rung-historical-park

Phlab Phla or the pavilion To the North of the first cruciform platform is a rectangular structure facing the South? The remains of eight sandstone pillars were the foundation of the base of the pavilion has a long narrow galley and an antechamber with doorways and steps to the northern, western, and eastern side. The building used to be called "White Elephant House" but is now known as the "changing pavilion" because it is believed to have been used by kings and royal family members for changing attire before the performing rituals.

The processional Walkway. Connecting the first cruciform platform and the first Naga bride, the processional walkway is paved with blocks of late rite and bordered with sandstone. Seventy sandstone posts with tops of lotus buds are set along the way.

The first Naga Bride. The first Naga Bridge joins the processional walkway, the upper stairway, and the walkway leading to the sacred pool, which was once the volcano's crater. It is a cruciform platform with rails carved in the shape of a serpent whit five heads, facing in four directions. Its motifs are in the "Angkor Wat Style" date to the 12th century A.D. in the center of the bridge was carved an eight petal led lotus motif. The bridge represents the connection between heaven and earth.

phnom-rung-historical-park

phnom-rung-historical-park

phnom-rung-historical-park

The Upper Stairway. The upper stairway leads to the top of the hill. The stairs are divided into 5 sets. Each set has terraces on both sides. On all the terraces floors are conical sandstone bases with holes.

The Walkway Leading to the Principal Tower. From the upper stairway is a wide late rite terraces. The terrace stands on the base which was leveled. The cruciform shape of the terrace forms four small pools and walkways.

The Second Saga Bridge. The second Naga Bridge has the same cruciform plan as the first one but is smaller. The central area of the bridge was carved with the eight lotus motif.

phnom-rung-historical-park

phnom-rung-historical-park

phnom-rung-historical-park

The Court and the Outer Gallery. Before reaching the principal tower, there was the outer gallery. However, its remains are lines of columns and numerous tiles. It is assumed that it was a wooden gallery with a tile roof. At present, it is an open walkway with a raise floor paved with blocks of late rite.

Arched Gateway and the Inner Galleries. The inner galleries were built as the wall around the principal tower. The galleries are long, narrow rectangular rooms divided into cells. The inner galleries have arched gateways on all four sides. The outer walls of the galleries were carved as false windows. The pediment over the doorway of the eastern gallery was carved with the sculpture of a hermit. The hermit is assumed to be an avatar of Shiva as the healer, or probably referred to the creator of Prasat Phnom Rung- Narendraditya.

The last Naga Bridge. The last Naga Bridge links the middle arched gateway of the inner galleries with the antechamber of the principal tower. It is similar to the previous Naga bridges.

The Principal Tower. The principal tower is the central of the ancient shrine. Constructed from pink sandstone, the tower has a square plan with indented corners. Double porches were built in the North, South, and West of the tower. To the East of the tower is a rectangular room called "Mandapa" (or an antechamber) connected to the tower by an annex. It is believed that the tower was built by Narendraditya in the 12th century A.D. in the main temple; there is the "garbhagrha" or the inner sanctum. It is assumed to have enshrined the linga, phallic symbol of Shiva. However, only the "Somasutra" or the water conduit used to drain away sacred water during religious rites remains. Most of the tower's motifs were sculpted with stories of Hindu divinities such as dancing Shiva (or Shiva Nataraja) pediment, and the reclining Vishnu lintel. Other motifs are from the Marayana, religious rites, directional gods, Narendraditya's biography, and hermit's daily activities.

The Two Brick Sanctuaries. To the northeast of the principal tower are the remains of the two brick sanctuaries. The sanctuaries were built around the 10th century A.D. and are the oldest structures in Phnom Rung.

Prang Noi or the Minor Sanctuary. Near the principal tower in the Southwest is a minor sanctuary or Prang Noi. It was built of sandstone in square plan with indented corners and made of sandstone. The inner wall is covered with late rite. The only entrance is in the East. In the sanctuary, there is a sandstone altar for holding sacred image. Its pediment in the East depicts Krishna lifting a mountain among floral motifs. The sanctuary date back to the 11th century A.D.

The Two Bannalais. To the Southeast and Northeast of the principal tower are remains of late rite rectangular buildings. Each has only one entrance with an arched roof. There are no sacred images. This kind of structure is known as a "Bannalai" or a library which used to store Holy Scriptures. The two Bannalais were built in the13th century A.D. the last period of Prasat Phnom Rung's construction.

phnom-rung-historical-park

phnom-rung-historical-park

phnom-rung-historical-park

Back to the news page.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape