Prasat Ban Bu Khmer Ruin

Prasat Ban Bu (ปราสาทบ้านบุ) is one of the 17 dharmasala fire shrines King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219), a devout Buddhist, built along the road from Angkor to Phimai, and one of only two in Thailand that have been restored; Prasat Ta Muean being the other. The clear color difference shows that over half of the laterite blocks used to rebuild it are new.

south side of temple
temple with strings over it for restoration
Photo taken in September 2013 during restoration.

Prasat Ban Bu is a single east-facing rectangular building, about 8 by 17 meters, with a tower at the west end.

north side of temple
west side of temple

There are five windows, all on the south side, and doorways to the east and west. Much of the sandstone decoration around the windows was inserted in the wrong place during the restoration – in particular, notice where the holes for holding balustrades are and aren’t. All that remains of the door decoration are two fragments of colonettes. The north side of the tower has a false door.

temple interior
decoration around a window
decoration around a window
decoration around a window
decoration around a window
decoration around a window
holes in base of window sill
west doorway
colonette of west doorway

east doorway
colonette of east doorway
false door

The two-tiered roof is an excellent example of corbelling (the Khmer never learned to make a true arch) and the tower is topped by the original lotus-bud, albeit with many new sandstone blocks added to make it complete. At the front is a triple pediment with each part capped by a piece of sandstone, two of them have unfinished carvings of a meditating Buddha.

Buddha carvings on roof
Buddha carving on roof
Buddha carving on roof
lotus bud top

Inside, below the impressive ceiling (put back together without any concrete or other visible supports) two pedestals are on display, though they were probably not in this position during the Khmer era.

interior of tower
temple interior

Around the front doorway are three out-of-place carvings: two beautiful lotuses and what appears to be an unfinished part of a pediment. These blocks, and others, were brought from elsewhere and used for Prasat Ban Bu. This repurposing of sandstone blocks could explain some (but not all) of the out-of-place window trim mentioned above.

lotus carving
lotus and other carving

Ponds around the temple, presumably dug during the Khmer era (and dredged in modern times), would have served travelers and their animals.

pond near temple
Southeast pond.

Excess stone, mostly laterite, not used in the restoration is piled up just to the north. One sandstone block here has carving on it and was likely also one of the blocks brought from elsewhere.

pile of laterite blocks

Location – Ban Bu Wittayasan School, Ban Bu, Tambon Chorakhe Mak, Amphoe Prakhon Chai, Buriram Province

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2 thoughts on “Prasat Ban Bu Khmer Ruin

  1. Hi Tim
    Great blog you’re running here. Very informative. Looks like we have very similar interests. Amongst many other things on my to-do list in Thailand/Laos/Cambodia was to visit all the Khmer ruins, all those hospitals and rest-houses. Looks like your way ahead of me there!
    Keep up the great work.

    1. Thanks a lot. I’ve been to well over 100 Khmer sites in Thailand over the past decade, but I didn’t take comprehensive notes or photos on all those trips. So, it’s going to take me a long time to get up to that many on the blog. But, some day.

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