History

Khmer Artifacts in the Maha Viravong National Museum

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hand from statue from Phanom Wan Khmer ruin at Maha Viravong National Museum

Probably the smallest national museum in Thailand, the Maha Viravong National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติมหาวีรวงศ์) occupies one little room on the grounds of Wat Suttha Chinda in central Khorat city, 350 meters south of the Thao Suranari Monument. Most of the artifacts come from the private collection of Somdej Phra Maha Viravong (Oun Tisso), the temple’s former abbot. And since they were generally just given to him by locals, most of the… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Prang Phakho Khmer Ruin

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front view of library at Prang Phakho Khmer ruin

Casual travelers probably won’t be too impressed by the modest remains of Prang Phakho (ปรางศ์พะโค), but it has some unusual features that Khmer enthusiasts will definitely want to see. Built in the 11th century, it presently consists of just two buildings: an east-facing central prang and one “library” in front. However, the ruins showed there was a second library across from the surviving one, and since three lotus-bud tops were… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Prang Sra Pleng Khmer Ruin

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Prang Sra Pleng Khmer ruin

Not much of Prang Sra Pleng (ปรางค์สระเพลง), now sitting in a small grove of trees surrounded by rice paddies, remains standing, though there is just enough to give visitors an impression of how this Khmer ruin used to be. Based mostly on the style of the sandstone doorframe, Prang Sra Pleng appears to have been a Hindu shrine for an arogayasala (hospital) built by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1181-1219). And… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Prang Ban Prang Khmer Ruin

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piece of pediment at Prang Ban Prang Khmer ruin

The ruins of Prang Ban Prang (ปรางค์บ้านปรางค์) are in an inconspicuous grove of trees in the middle of a little village. Driving past you’d pay it no mind if it weren’t for the two large signs marking it as a historic site. The temple had a single prang built of sandstone and brick on a laterite base. While most of it lies buried in dirt, many pieces (mostly sandstone, but… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Prasat Nong Phak Rai Khmer Ruin

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sandstone statue base at Prasat Nong Phak Rai Khmer ruin

Almost nothing is known about Prasat Nong Phak Rai (ปราสาทหนองผักไร). There’s nothing visible that reveals the history (Perhaps an excavation would shed some light – but not necessarily because holes dug by looters have been reported.) and it isn’t even registered by the Fine Arts Department. Prasat Nong Phak Rai is in a small grove of trees on a low mound amidst rice paddies. It isn’t truly remote, but it… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Ku Kaew Chaiyaram Khmer Ruin

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two yoni and lotus bud top at Ku Kaew Chaiyaram Khmer ruin

Ku Kaew Chaiyaram (กู่แก้วชัยราม) was once a single prang with a mandapa at the front, but it collapsed completely and the remains now lie almost entirely buried under a large concrete base. The ruins sit on an east-west axis and so the temple almost certainly faced east. Someday this base will hold an ubosot, but for now there are twin shrines on top. In front is an ordinary Buddha shrine… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Prang Ku Chaiyaphum Khmer Ruin

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Prang Ku Chaiyaphum Khmer ruin

The Bayon-style Prang Ku Chaiyaphum (ปรางค์กู่ ชัยภูมิ) is the most complete Khmer ruin in the province, and a major point of pride for the capital city. It decorates the street signs, the festival honoring it lasts three days, and it’s the city’s main (essentially only) tourist attraction. It was built by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1181-1219) as a Mahayana Buddhist temple for one of the 102 arogayasala (hospitals) that he… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Ku Ban Nong Ranya Khmer Ruin

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Buddha and goddess statues inside Ku Ban Nong Ranya Khmer ruin

No original structures from Ku Ban Nong Ranya (กู่บ้านหนองร้านหญ้า) remain, but in 2017 locals took the old blocks (mostly laterite, but a few sandstone) that had been scattered around the area and stacked them up into four short walls on a concrete base. It’s not a restoration, but it was done in spirit of a Khmer sanctuary. The interior of this shrine holds a Buddha image and a local goddess… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Non Thaen Phra Khmer Ruin

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Vishnu and dvarapala statues in shrine at Non Thaen Phra Khmer ruin

There are no ancient structures left at Non Thaen Phra (โนนแท่นพระ) anymore, just a few dozen scattered blocks, mostly laterite, laying around in the dirt plus a few sandstone carvings; and you probably can’t see the later. In or around 1914 a hunter chasing a deer found a Buddha image in the forest here. Later locals uncovered many more ancient artifacts, such as statues, pedestals, pottery, stone grinders, and a… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Prang Ku Ban Nong Faek Khmer Ruin

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woman praying in front of main sanctuary of Prang Ku Ban Nong Faek Khmer ruin

Prang Ku Ban Nong Faek (ปรางค์กู่บ้านหนองแฝก) was built by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1181-1219) as a Mahayana Buddhist temple for one of the 102 hospitals (arogayasala) he opened across the empire. All of the structures – the main sanctuary, gopura, library, and enclosure – are built of laterite, with only door and window frames being of sandstone. While none of the structures are complete and the tower is gone, after… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Ku Daeng Khmer Ruin

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south side of Ku Daeng Khmer ruin

Ku Daeng (กู่แดง) is a single brick prang with a rather unusual design: it’s cross-shaped with open doorways on all four sides and has a nearly three-meter tall base. The prang collapsed completely, but the laterite base, with stairs on all four sides and deeply redented corners, survived mostly intact. The base’s modern modification is that locals filled in the eastern steps to make a solid wall as a spot… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Prasat Ban Tan Khmer Ruin

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blocks of rubble at Prang Ban Tan Khmer ruin

Prasat Ban Tan (ปราสาทบ้านตาล) is a completely collapsed single tower built of sandstone, probably on a laterite base. Its history is unknown, but it could be from the 11th-century, the same time as Phimai. Although it had fallen down on its own, locals say that its current state of total ruin is due to looters pulling down what still stood when they were looking for valuables. One of the things… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Sop Namman Khmer Ruin

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yoni at Sop Namman Khmer ruin

Sop Namman (สบน้ำมัน) sits under a giant mango tree far from any village or paved road and it’s the small adventure required to get there, rather than what you find that makes a visit fun. Judging by the large (1.3 x 1.3 meters square) yoni still there, it could have been a fairly large sanctuary. But, other than this, all that remains are 33 scattered sandstone blocks. Nothing is known… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Ku Ban Hua Sa Khmer Ruin

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blocks of Ku Ban Hua Sa Khmer ruin

In Thailand there are many Khmer ruins inside villages, but Ku Ban Hua Sa (กู่บ้านหัวสระ) is the first I have visited that is literally in someone’s backyard. Although rather than an actual ruin, it’s just a gathering of various sandstone and laterite blocks, some for building walls and others carved for decorative trim. A few carvings in better condition were removed by the Fine Arts Department for safe keeping. A… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Wat Boon Khmer Ruin

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laterite blocks at Wat Boon

Wat Boon (วัดบูรณ์) is known locally for its old (possibly Lan Chang era) brick stupa, which is now covered by a modern one. But, before the Lao came there was a Khmer temple of unknown era and design on this site.

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