Archive for Historical Park

Phimai / Thailand

Posted in Latest of Asienreisender, Sights with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2013 by Thim Kwai

In the heart of Phimai, a small town in Thailand’s northeastern Isan region, one of the most remarkable Angkorean cultural heritages outside Angkor itself is situated: Prasat Phimai. In 1936 it was set under protection by the Thai government and became step by step restaurated from the 1950s on. ‘Phimai Historical Park’ was opened in 1989.

Phimai town is a medieval Khmer foundation, became the first time fortificated in the 11th century and advanced to a spiritual center of the classical empire of Angkor. In the reign of king Jayavarman VII (1181-1206/1220 CE) the city walls and gates so far they remain now were constructed. The town’s name is derivated fro ‘Vimayapura’ or ‘Vimai’. The contemporary official name of the site is ‘Prasat Hin Phi Mai’.

Historical Phimai has a considerable size. The inner temple district is a rectangular of 83m to 74m, the middle district measures 272m to 220m and the surrounding town, which was formerly completely enclosed by the city wall, stretches over 665m to 1033m. Phimai must have been one of the most important cities in the Angkorean empire.

The central temple complex is not exactly aligned onto the north-south axis, but by 20 degree turned to southeast. It’s probably done to give it the direction facing to Angkor.

At the northern end of Phimai is a national museum placed, which displays a number of the site’s artefacts as lintels, Buddha images, nagas, pottery and jewellery.

Prasat Phimai is considered to be the most important Khmer monument in Thailand.

Know…

This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Phimai’. Read the whole article on Phimai by Asienreisender.

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Phanom Rung / Thailand

Posted in Latest of Asienreisender, Sights with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2013 by Thim Kwai

Situated on top of an extinct volcano at a height of 381m, Phanom Rung represents maybe the finest monument of the classical Angkor period which is situated in Thailand. It’s full name ‘Prasat hin Kaho Phanom Rung’ is translatable to ‘Palace of Stone on the Hill Rung’; ‘Phnom Rung’ in Khmer language means somewhat like ‘broad hill/mountain’.

The nearest bigger city is Buriram, some 50km north, from which it is possible to visit Phanom Rung in a day-trip by public bus. Phanom Rung itself is located in a mountainous, forested area, surrounded by small villages.

History

Early inscriptions (7th/8th century) indicate that there was a predecessing temple on the site, dating back to Chenla era.

Between the early 9th to the 13th century the area was ruled by the Mahidharapura dynasty. This Khmer vassal principality preserved a certain independence from the grand Angkor empire. A remarkable personality is prince Narendraditya, who was a trustworthy vassal of king Suryavarman II (1095-1150 CE, who built Angkor Wat). Both were relatives and Narendraditya fought repeatedly victorious for Suryavarman II in war. Later in his life Narendraditya retreated to spent the rest of his life as a yogi and guru in spirituality. His son Hiranya took over state’s power and the eleven inscriptions of Phanom Rung, who tell us this story, were made under Hiranya’s supervision. Onother king of the principality was Dharanindravarman II (1150-1160), ruling in the time after the death of Suryavarman II.

The Phanom Rung temple complex was built, probably in significant phases, between the early 10th and the late 12th century. In these almost 300 years it was undergoing changes and extensions; particularly in the reigns of king Narendraditya and Hiranya the temple got considerably extended.

Architecture

Phanomg Rung has a recommendation for sophisticated stoneworks who consist of sandstone and laterite. There is for instance a war elephant to see which is trampling down an enemy (war scenes in temples are always remarkable). The elephant might represent one of the earliest artworks of the Angkorean civilization.

Most of the other depictions show hindu gods as Vishnu and Shiva, the destroyer of ignorance and illusion, practicing asceticism. The site symbolizes Shiva’s home mount Kailas (in Tibet, close to the Indian and the Nepalese borders), which is considered a sacret mountain in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The eleven inscriptions in Phanom Rung therefore describe a regional organization of Angkor.

Phanom Rung monument was connected via a Khmer road with Prasat Hin Phimai (also in Thailand) and further on to Angkor city.

From the lower part of the site, where is nowadays the visitor center, long stairways lead steeply up to the temple district. The first bigger building, ‘Phlab Phla’ or the ‘white elephant house’, is supposed to have housed the former dressing rooms for the king and his company. From there a 160m long prosessional walkway, made of laterite and seamed with some seventy sandstone posts to the right and the left leads to the first naga bridge. The bridge symbolizes the transfer from the ordinary to the sacred world, and the sandstone nagas are pretty impressive. Another stairway leads to four basins, who are connected by another bridge to the actual temple.

Restauration of the site took place in the years between 1971-1988. In 1988 then Phanom Rung became declared one of Thailands ‘Historical Parks’. In 2005 it was suggested to the UNESCO as a ‘World Cultural Heritage’.

Situated on top of an extinct volcano at a height of 381m, Phanom Rung represents maybe the finest monument of the classical Angkor period which is situated in Thailand. It’s full name ‘Prasat hin Kaho Phanom Rung’ is translatable to ‘Palace of Stone on the Hill Rung’; ‘Phnom Rung’ in Khmer language means somewhat like ‘broad hill/mountain’.

The nearest bigger city is Buriram, some 50km north, from which it is possible to visit Phanom Rung in a day-trip by public bus. Phanom Rung itself is located in a mountainous, forested area, surrounded by small villages.

Know…

This is only a part of the illustrated article ‘Phanom Rung’. Read the whole article on Phanom Rung.

Keep yourself up-to-date

Check the list of recently published articles on a great variety of Southeast Asian themes. All of them are richly illustrated: Asienreisender