Phanom Rung Historical Park Buriram

Sawasdee Krab,

Phanom Rung Historical Park, Buriram,


The Processional Walkway

Phanom Rung Historical Park Buriram is one of the most beautiful and important Khmer historic sites in Thailand. It was built during the 12th century AD and is set on top of Phanom Rung Hill in Tambon Ta Pek, Chaloem Phra Khiat District, Buriram, Isan, Thailand. Phanom Rung is the original name and is mentioned in stone inscriptions excavated in this area. It is a religious sanctuary dedicated to the God Shiva, the supreme Hindu deity. It symbolizes Mount Kailasa, the heavenly abode of Shiva. It has been designed to emphasize the central building, the principal tower, which faces east.
To the right of the stairway leading to the tower is a building known as “phlab phla” which could be the same building known today as “phlab phia pleuang khruang” (robbing room) in which the King prepared himself prior to proceeding with his entourage to pay respect to the deity or to perform religious rites. Adjacent is the pathway, which is adorned on both sides with columns topped with lotus buds. There are 38 such columns, which are known as “sao nang rieng.” The pathway leads to the raised cruciform-shaped Naga Bridge, which has rails in the form of a five-headed naga (a mythical snake). It is believed that this bridge links the human with the heavenly realm. In the middle of the bridge is an engraving of an eight-petalled lotus, which could symbolize the deities of the eight directions in Hindu belief. It could also mark the point where propitiation ceremonies were performed or where pilgrims made vows before proceeding further.

First Birthday Supplies at

Location Phanom Rung Sanctuary


Aerial view of Phanom Rung Historical Park, Buriram

At the end of the Naga Bridge are 52 steps leading to a plateau on top of the hill. To the front of the arched doorway in the eastern gallery 1 is a second naga bridge. The gallery is actually a rectangular structure surrounding the tower on all four sides. It is not possible to walk through the gallery, however, as it is blocked in sections by a wall. In the centre of each wall is an arched doorway, while the comers of the wall are cruciform. The external gable on the eastern wall carries a relief of Shiva in the manifestation of a healer. This could represent Narendradit who constructed the Sanctuary.


Plan of Prasat Phanom Rung

The main tower, which is square, is constructed of pink sandstone. The building is 9.20 meters wide and 23 meters tall. The front section is a rectangular chamber {mandapd) with a connecting corridor. It is believed that the principal tower was constructed by Narendradit, who ruled over the community where Prasat Phanom Rung is located during the 12th century AD The most sacred religious object, in this case the Shiva Lingam, was enshrined in the centre of the tower. It is most unfortunate that this sacred object of art has now disappeared and all that remains is the water conduit to receive the water poured over the lingam.

There are two stone towers and a minor tower to the northeast and the southwest of the principal tower. Archaeological evidence shows that these predate the main tower and were constructed in the 10th and 11th centuries AD In front of the tower, to the northeast and the southeast, are two late rite buildings known as “banalai” (scripture repositories) where sacred religious texts were stored. These buildings were constructed in the 13th century AD. The principal tower is adorned with gables and lintels carrying relief depicting episodes from Hindu legends such as the dancing Shiva, Vishnu in the reclining position, and manifestations of Vishnu in the form of Rama, in the epic Ramayana, or Krishna. There are also relief of religious ceremonies and daily activities of hermits.
The Department of Fine Arts registered Prasat Phanom Rung as an archaeological site in 1935 as announced in Government Gazette Volume 42 Section 75. Restoration commenced in 1961 and Phanom Rung Historical Park was officially declared open by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on 21 May, 1978.


The Second Naga Bridge

If you can, plan your visit for one of the four times when the sun shines through all 15-sanctuary doorways. The correct solar alignment happens during sunrise on 3–5 April and 8–10 September and sunset on 5–7 March and 5–7 October. In leap years it begins one day earlier. The park extends its hours during this event. Also, on the first Saturday of April, local people have their own special celebration, the Climbing Khao Phanom Rung Festival, which commemorates the restoration of Phanom Rung. During the morning there is a procession up Khao Phanom Rung, and at night-time sound-and-light shows and dance-dramas are performed in the temple complex.

First Birthday Supplies at

Phanom Rung Historical Park opens everyday from 06.00-18.00 hrs. Admission fee is 40 Baht per person.

Below the main sanctuary, after the long row of gift shops, an Information Centre (admission free; 9am-4.30pm) houses a scale model of the area, artefacts found at the site, and displays about both the construction and restoration. Guides (fees are negotiable) offer their services at the complex, but when we last visited none spoke English. It’s possible that bungalows will be available in the future, but it’s unlikely.


Phanom Rung grounds






How to get to Phanom Rung Historical Park, Buriram, Isan, Thailand. see map


That’s all for now, until next time,

Choak Dee Krab

Laew Phop Kan Mai Na Krab



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