The Surin Elephant Round up usually takes place on the third weekend of November in Surin province, Isan, Thailand. It is of recent origin, first held in 1960. The people of Surin
were traditionally excellent at capturing elephants in Cambodia, then training them as working animals. Civil war in Cambodia and the elephant’s decreasing economic importance has forced the elephant handlers (mahouts) to turn to entertainment to make a living.
The event consists of a series of shows displaying the strength and skill of the animals, such as football games and tugs of war. Elephant Round Up and Elephant breakfast
The Elephant Breakfast is a small part of the festival and is held on the Friday morning. A procession of up to over 280 elephants (2012) start marching through Surin city from the railway station area toward the Elephant roundabout at the south end of the city on the Prasat road.
The elephants carry dignitaries and also some tourists who dismount their steeds on arrival. Some elephants carry mahouts in authentic battle outfits from the Thai – Khmer – Laos battles. Intermingled with the elephant procession are local school children and teachers in traditional dress, dancing and playing music.
Once all the elephants have arrived then the banquet can begin, the tables of fruits are quickly cleared by the large team of elephants. Whatever leftovers there may be is not lost, as the local people take the leftovers to their own homes. Continue reading →
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.
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. Continue reading →