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Phanom Rung or, with its full name, Prasat Hin Phanom Rung  or  Phanom Rung Stone Castle, or Prasat Phnom Rong in Khmer, is a Khmer temple complex  1,320 feet ( 400 metres ) above sea level, in Buri ram province in the Issan region of Thailand. It was built in sandstone and laterite in the 10th to 13th centuries. It was a Hindu shrine dedicated to Shiva, and symbolises Mount Kailash, his heavenly dwelling. Thailand's Department of Fine Arts spent 17 years restoring the complex to its original state from 1971 until 1988. On 21 May 1988, the park was officially opened by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. In 2005, the temple was submitted to UNESCO for consideration as a future World Heritage Site.

Phanom Rung is one of Thailand's most amazing Khmer architecture site, aged over a thousand years old. Built on an extinct volcano, it was originally a Hindu religious site and later became a Buddhist one. Several additions were made during the 15th-18th Buddhist century. The first thing noticed on arrival is a grand stairway from the foot of the hill up to the top. Most of the sanctuary buildings are made of laterite and sandstone, all with elaborate designs. The buildings are lined all the way to the main pagoda whose layout is according to Hindu belief of the layout of God Shiva’s heaven.

The large main pagoda has a square base facing the East. Exquisite designs on the pagoda, columns, doorway, and lintels tell a story of Hindu gods. Each building features descriptive motifs reciting a purpose of its construction, functionality and beliefs of ancient people. Based on these intricate designs and architecture, it is surmised that the pagoda, the stairway and the Naga Bridge were all built during the 17th Buddhist century.

After the three-levelled lower stairway, the visitor finds himself/herself on the first cruciform platform with a first peak at the main temple. On the right, northward, is Phlab Phla or the White Elephant House. The pavilion is believed to be the place where kings and the royal family would change attire before rituals. Royalty would then enter the Processional Walkway, one of the most impressive elements of the park. It is 160 meters long and bordered by seventy sandstone posts with tops of lotus buds. The Walkway itself is paved with laterite blocks.

Buri ram Page 5, Phanom Rung stone castle
Buri ram Page 5, Phanom Rung stone castle

Phanom Rung or, with its full name, Prasat Hin Phanom Rung (Phanom Rung Stone Castle),

Historical Park

Buri ram Province, Page 6,  Prasat Hin Phanom Rung