Phanom Rung historical park
Phanom Rung historical park (Thai: ปราสาทหินพนมรุ้ง) is one of the most prominent and most visited Khmer sites in Thailand. If you want to see the largest number of Khmer monuments in Thailand, It’s located in in Chalermphrakiat district, Buri Ram province. It was built on an extinct volcano at 1,320 feet above sea level. Most of the construction of this temple dated from the 10th , 11th and 12th Century. This beautiful historic park is 28km from Nang Rong and was declared a historical site in March 1935 by the Thai government.
Influence of Hindu religion
The entire includes towers, temples and images of Buddha along with overall influence of the architectural work of the Khmer. The influence of Hindu religion is very much evident in the site. If you take to stroll along the walkway, which is 400 meters long, you will come across several ruins before you reach the main sanctuary of the site. Most of these ruins are images that depict the portrayal of scenes from the Ramayana and many gods of Hindu religion. You can also find sculptures of Lord Vishnu and Hindu Saivite (Lord Shiva) monastery. This site in basically dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The overall impact of visiting the park is simply mesmerizing and it gives a different feeling altogether. It feels like visiting in another world with lots of mystical, mythological, and architectural wonders. It took almost seventeen years (1971-1988) to build back the glory of the park through an extensive restoration process, but the end result is definitely awe inspiring. Phanom Rung is probably the most beautiful khmer temple in Thailand, with Phimai historical park. They are all linked to the famous Angkor Wat, which was the Khmer capital.
Things to see
If you are a first time visitor, then try to view the different attractions of the site in the following manner. First, you will come across the imposing stairway that starts from the foot of the hill and reaches to the peak. Take a look at the stairway and feel its grandeur. The designs and architectural works in the site are detailed and mostly made of sandstone and laterite. You will find beautiful buildings lined one after the other all the way to the key pagoda, which is very big east-facing structure with a square base. The designs, columns, entrance, and beams on the pagoda are beautiful, most of them depicting the tales of gods in Hinduism. The site has three major compounds beside the main tower, which are the stairway, the pagoda and the Naga bridge. Every construction has evocative and expressive designs that depict why they are constructed and how useful they are. The design of the site is constructed in such a way that it is believed to be similar to the layout of Lord Shiva’s heaven, according to Hindu belief. This site was also designed and construct according to the position of the sun. On certain dates, like on 5-7 March, or 3-5 April, or 5-7 September and 5-7 October, the sun will penetrate all 15 doorways at the sunset, which will be between 5:50pm and 6:12pm, depending on the season.
How to reach the Phanom Rung historical park
First, you have to reach the city of Buriram and from there you can take the bus to Ban Ta-Kop. From Ban Ta-Ko, you can get a songtaew to reach Phanom Rung historical park. You can also visit the site by car by driving some 64 km to the south of Buri Ram. You can also take the way from Nang Rong to Prakhon Chai (Highway No. 24) and after reaching Ban Tako, you have to cover 12 kms by road to get into Phanom Rung. From Prakhon Chai, there is a connective road to the Phanom Rung historical park with 21 kms distance.
06.00 -18.00 hrs