Khmer Ruins

Ku Bueng Jiew Khmer Ruin

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thai buddhist monk standing next to sandstone pedestal of Ku Bueng Jiew Khmer ruin

All that remains visible of Ku Bueng Jiew (กู่บึงจิว) is a single carved sandstone pedestal with two holes in it. Locals believe this stone now covers a naga hole. The large Buddha that’s inside the sala in front of the naga hole was built over all the laterite blocks that remained from the Khmer temple. Its age is unknown. Locals call the site Prang Ku. Location – Wat Pa Ban Prang… Read More

Buddhism

The Buddha Nearing Death at Wat Yang Tuang Wararam

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close up of buddha vomiting on mural painting at wat yang tuang wararam

The Buddha died of dysentery after eating spoiled pork. Some people (seemingly mostly Westerners who are uncomfortable with the idea of the Buddha eating meat, even though this is discussed in the Pali Canon many times) have decided that the final meal of “soft pork” was actually a type of mushroom and he died from poisoning. Regardless of what the food was, the Buddha knew that is was bad and… Read More

History

Khon Kaen’s Seven City Pillar Shrines

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Fourth Khon Kaen city pillar shrine, at Ban Nontan

Khon Kaen city moved location several times during its first century of existence, and whenever there was a move, the leader built a new city pillar shrine. So, besides the large, modern main city pillar shrine in the city center, there are six other shrines in and around Mueang Khon Kaen that once served this duty. The years given here come from the book The History of Khon Kaen by… Read More

Khmer Ruins

Prasat Ban Phluang Khmer Ruin

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South lintel at Ban Phluang Khmer ruin in Thailand.

Prasat Ban Phluang (ปราสาทบ้านพลวง) is not one of Thailand’s well-known Khmer ruins, but it’s a great place to visit for people interested in ancient art. It was built in in the second half of the 11th century in Baphuon-style during the reign of Udayadityavarman 2. It’s very small and simple, but the setting, with many trees around it, makes it beautiful and the carvings are excellent. There’s a single white… Read More

Culture

Mural Paintings of “Kalam” at Wat Nong Wang

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Buddhist temple mural painting of woman tying a mut mee silk pattern.

Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakhon stupa at Wat Nong Wang (วัดหนองแวง) is Khon Kaen’s one must-see. Each of the nine floors has something on display. One of my favorite things there are the murals on the second floor which show kalam (คะลำ), an Isan word meaning “things people should not do.” Many of these social rules are about showing proper respect to those with higher status than you, but others cover… Read More

Folktales

The Legend of Nang Usa from Phu Phrabat

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Nang Usa's tower in Phu Phrabat Historical Park in Udon Thani, Thailand.

Phu Phrabat Historical Park, spread out around the top of a small mountain range, was an important Dvaravati religious site from around 1000-1200 CE. It was deep wilderness, but as many as 100 monks resided here and they adapted the rocky landscape into shrines and dwellings. Many Buddhist rock carvings and bai sema sacred boundary stone markers from that period remain, as well as pre-Dvaravati cave paintings. But the natural… Read More

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