Phanom Rung Historical Park - Buriram

About 120 kilometres from Korat city, Phanom Rung Historical Park is one of the most diverse national parks and certainly one of the most important and most visited Khmer sites in Thailand. Based on Phanom Rung Hill, an extinct volcano that forms a gentle arc across the horizon, the park houses the largest number of Khmer monuments in Thailand.

The whole site has been brought back to its’ full glory after nearly two decades of restoration and the result is extremely impressive. This is a vast site boasting temples, towers, Buddha images – all with a distinct Khmer architectural influence. The site also includes a Hindu Saivite (Shiva) monastery and sculptures of Vishnu. A 400-metre walkway leads up to the site’s main sanctuary and passes a number of different ruins. Many of these ruins contain images depicting Hindu Gods, Brahma and scenes from the Ramayana. Set against a scenic countryside backdrop, the site has massive impact.

There’s a power about the place that is at once mystical and eerie – it is very a feel of stepping back in time and stepping into another world. It is difficult to cover every aspect of this site in a short description. However, suffice to say that this site is comparable to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Very close to the park is Muang Tam – a site of significant value in its’ own right. It features a main building with five towers positioned around it alongside a series of ponds.

Details: Admission to the park costs 40 Baht and it is open daily from 08:00 to 17:30.

How to get there: There is a bus from Buriram city to Ban Ta-Ko and from there you can get a songtaew to Phanom Rung.

The first thing visitors see when they arrive at the site is the grand stairway from the foot of the hill up to the top. Most of the buildings of the sanctuary were made of laterite and sandstone, all with elaborate designs. The buildings are lined all the way to the main pagoda. This layout is according to Hindu belief of the layout of the heaven of the god Shiva. The main pagoda is a large one with a square base and facing east. The designs on the pagoda, columns, doorway, and lintels are exquisite, most telling a story of gods in Hinduism.

From these designs and the architecture, it was surmised that the pagoda, the stairway and the Naga bridge were built during the 12th century. Each building has descriptive designs telling people the purpose for its construction, its usefulness and the beliefs of ancient people. Phanom Rung is open daily from 06.00-18.00 hrs. Getting to Phanom Rung by car is easy. The sanctuary is 64 kilometres to the south of Buri Ram town. There are 2 ways to get there. Visitors can proceed from Nang Rong to Prakhon Chai (Highway No. 24) and upon reaching Ban Tako, there is a 12-kilometer road to Phanom Rung. Alternatively, if visitors proceed from Prakhon Chai, there is a road from there to the sanctuary with a distance of 21 kilometres.

This route passes a branch road into Muang Tam sanctuary. Visitors can rent air-conditioned vans in town. Visitors traveling by bus from Nakhon Ratchasima can take the Nakhon Ratchasima-Surin bus and get off at Ban Tako (124 kilometres from Nakhon Ratchasima). From Ban Tako, a motorcycle service is available to take visitors to the site (fare according to agreement). There is 1 accommodation near the site.

Article Source: http://www.discoverythailand.com

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