Phra That Dum Khmer Ruin

The oldest of the three Khmer temples still standing in Sakon Nakhon city (Phra That Choeng Chum and Phra That Narai Jeng Weng being the others), Phra That Dum (พระธาตุดุม) is a triple-towered temple probably built in the late 10th or early 11th century. It faces east and has been incorporated into the modern Thai temple here by building the wihan directly in front of it.

prang in front of wihan

Only the main prang remains, but we know there were (or were going to be – it was far from uncommon for temples under construction to be left unfinished) two other towers on the sides because there are three lotus-bud tops and three pedestals.

platform and prang
lotus-bud top
pedestal

Built of brick and standing about eight meters tall, it’s missing most of its front and has a noticeable lean. But it’s still complete enough to be rather attractive. There are false doors on three sides, the north and south each having a single damaged colonette, and the west a thick sandstone door frame.

prang in front of wihan
south false door
west false door
north false door

Whatever was originally enshrined inside is gone. At present there are a pair of sandstone Buddhas regularly worshipped by locals.

Buddha shrine inside prang

The prang‘s only remaining art is a rather unusual Baphuon-style lintel on the south side. Kala, in his regular lower middle spot, is surrounded by several animals: two elephants, a singha, and at least two others broken beyond recognition. The meaning is unknown.

lintel

Many sandstone carvings and other random fragments have been placed around the prang including a broken receptacle, used for keeping valuables like gems and gold leaf offered during the dedication ceremony, and nine lotus-bud sao nang riang (aka sao nang charan) pillars (four complete ones and another five tops) that would have lined a walkway to the temple like those at Phanom Rung and Sdok Kok Thom.

lotus-bud tops and pillars
lotus-bud top and pillar
lotus-bud-pillar
broken receptacle

The prang sits on a low laterite base and there are two more empty bases to the sides. Archeologists assume there was originally one long base, since this is typical of that time, and it was changed to three much later when the site was adapted into a Buddhist temple by the Lan Chang rulers who moved into this area. Note how only the middle platform has carving around the edge.

south base
north base

The sides of the moat remain to the north and south.

moat in front of prang

Location – Wat Phra That Dum, Ban That Dum, Tambon Ngio Don, Amphoe Mueang, Sakon Nakhon Province
Other Names – Phra That Doom, พระธาตุดูม

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