History

Meru Brahmathat

Just two hundred meters away from the entrance to Prasat Phimai, but unrelated to it or the Khmer empire in any way, Meru Brahmathat (เมรุพรหมทัต) is a toppled brick stupa from the 18th century (late Ayutthaya era). It sits atop a man-made hill and including this it’s about thirty meters tall now; though it was clearly much bigger when built. While not in very good condition, it does present a fairly impressive site: more so from afar than up close.

ruined brick stupa on a hill seen from below

What the Ayutthayans called it is unknown. The present name came from the Nang Oraphim-Thao Pajit folktale because at some point in the past locals, believing the legend was fact, not fiction, decided it was not really a stupa, rather it was the remains of the crematorium monument built for the funeral of King Brahmathat. Meru (เมรุ) is the name of the holy Indian mountain in Buddhist cosmology and also the Thai word for crematorium. In the latter case it is pronounced “main,” but for this stupa people say “may-rue,” like the mountain.

ruined brick stupa
ruined brick stupa
offerings in front of the stupa
ruined brick stupa
ganesh statue with offerings
closeup of brick wall

Location – Tambon Nai Mueang, Amphoe Phimai, Nakhon Ratchasima Province

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