Saturday, March 2, 2013

Khmer ruins in Thailand

One of the biggest surprises for me living in Thailand is to discover that there are many Angkor-era (11th century) Khmer ruins in this country, built around the same time as Angkor Wat, which is not too far from the eastern provinces. I recently visited one, Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung in Buriram Province near the Cambodian border. Not as large as Angkor, but impressive nonetheless. I also tried to visit another, Prasat Khao Phra Wihan, also known in Cambodia as Preah Vihear, a site between the two countries whose ownership is in dispute. Due to current tensions, it was closed, but I enjoyed a walk to near it and viewed it from a distance, as well as view a spectacular bas relief carving in the Mo Ee Daeng cliff.

The approach to Phanom Rung is similar to that of Angkor Wat.

Beautiful carvings of Hindu gods
The doorway architecture is the same as at Angkor Wat.

Visiting monks

This reflective pose is symbolic of the atmosphere at Phanom Rung.

Ornate carvings on the central spire of the prasat.

Three doorways.

Blocks set tightly together, carried on shoulder poles that were stuck through the holes.

Pha Mo Ee Daeng cliff carvings in Prasat Khao Phra Wihan National Park are on the Cambodian side of the border, but are only accessible from the Thai side. A long passageway to them on the cliff face allows a look at ancient carvings, estimated at over 2,500 years old.