Khmer Ruins

Kuti Ruesi Noi Khmer Ruin

Kuti Ruesi Noi (กุฏิฤาษีน้อย), just 450m south of the southern city gate, was the temple for one of the 102 arogayasala (hospitals) that King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219) had built around the empire. It follows the standard arogayasala design in most regards. It faces roughly to the east, in line with Phimai temple and town.

view of temple from afar

It’s not in very good shape and quite incomplete – none of the walls are tall and some are gone entirely – but you can still get a pretty good idea about how it was in its day. Unfortunately, Kuti Ruesi Noi got just a slapdash restoration. Metal rods, saw cuts, and concrete are exposed in many places.

concrete, saw cuts, and metal rod in wall of main sanctuary

The eastern gopura has a fairly large central room with small chambers at the front and on both sides. Parts of the sandstone doorframes remain, but they were not carved.

front view of gopura
north chamber of gopura
south chamber of gopura
monk statue and water bottle as offering in south chapter of gopura

Only the base of the outer enclosure remains.

main sanctuary with enclosure in foreground of photo

The main sanctuary has a laterite base about 1.5m tall with redented corners on the side and in back and very steep steps. Unusual for an arogayasala, the tower is built of sandstone; normally sandstone is only used around doorways and windows and for statuary. Two lintels are in place, but neither they nor the door trim have been carved.

main sanctuary
main sanctuary
view through both doors of main sanctuary
steep front steps of main sanctuary
redented corners in back of main sanctuary
horse statue as offering on main sanctuary
statues of King Jayavarman 7 and a Bodhisattva in main sanctuary

Also different from other arogayasala is that the sanctuary’s tower has a back door. Considering the careless restoration, it’s possible this wasn’t in the original construction. Both doors have uncarved lintels above them and there are the expected false doors on the sides. Much of the front of the tower is just cobbled together and looks quite bad.

back door of main sanctuary
small rocks stacked up to form a wall in main sanctuary

About all that’s left of the small bannalai is its base. It too had sandstone door frames for its two doorways. A ring that was probably part of the lotus-bud top of the main sanctuary’s tower is displayed here.

bannalai
view of bannalai (with ring) and main sanctuary
ring atop banalai

Outside the enclosure to the northeast is the sacred pond, lined with the usual laterite steps. A bench next to the pond is made of an uncarved lintel; presumably from the gopura or bannalai.

view of temple with sacred pond in the front
view of temple with sacred pond in the front
laterite steps along sacred pond
bench made of lintel next to pond
bench made from a lintel

The road from Phimai to Angkor is thought to have passed to the east of Kuti Ruesi Noi before running alongside the old Phimai Baray.

Location – Tambon Nai Mueang, Amphoe Phimai, Nakhon Ratchasima Province
Other Names – Prasat Kuti Ruesi (ปราสาทกุฏิฤาษี), Kuti Rishi

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