Don Ku (ดอนกู่) consists of a jumble of laterite blocks mostly buried in a two-meter-tall hill. The only structure still visible is a bit of the platform under a tree on the west side.
Although no proper excavation has been done here, the shape of the mound leads to the assumption that it was a single tower facing east (tilted off-center to the south by about 15 degrees) since not only is that the most common alignment of Khmer ruins, but also because there’s a dried-up baray (now filled with rice paddies) about 175 meters from the ruin in that direction. The baray is clearly visible on a satellite map, but also recognizable on site by the tree line that now surrounds it.
The dirt mound stretches a bit further to the east of the main pile of blocks than it does to the west, indicating that perhaps there was a mandapa chamber at the front. Of course, this could also just be a matter of the tower tumbling down in that direction.
There’s a small, simple shrine atop the mound for locals to make offerings to the spirits. Behind it is the only carving from the site that can be seen, a cracked but complete sandstone pedestal that would have held a statue.
One other small piece of sandstone sticks out of the ground and there’s a single brick atop the dirt. Locals say that in the past they dug out some pottery from here (but found no statues, lintels, or other carvings) and a few shards are scattered around, but they don’t appear to be ancient.
An old document about Don Ku mentions a moat, but nothing of it presently survives. A small pond to the east appears that it could possibly be a remnant section of a moat, but the farmers living there said that it’s not; they themselves dug it not so long ago.
Location – Ban Non Yai, Tambon Ko-e, Amphoe Khueang Nai, Ubon Ratchathani Province
Other Names – Prasat Ban Non Yai (ปราสาทบ้านโนนใหญ่), Prasat Non Yai (ปราสาทโนนใหญ่), Non Ku (โนนกู่)
It’s a different kettle of fish but have you checked out the Annamese Lion Throne in Ban Chi Thuan of A. Khueang Nai. So unusual and really lovely. I’ve been to the district often but have never seen Don Ku. Many years ago, I spent hours looking for a Khmer site in A. Det Udom (using Achille Clarac’s guide) and no one know of a “boran nasatan” in the neighborhood. I eventually found it, but it wasn’t a sacred site as I’d imagined, but a rice storage shed. Maybe a case of Ozymandias in Isan.
Love that lion pulpit – and lots of the sculpture around it.
There actually is a Khmer ruin in pretty good condition at Amphoe Det Udom: Prasat Nong Thong Lang / ปราสาทหนองทองหลาง