Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung

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Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

Phanom Rung was the last stop of my trip in Thailand before crossing over to Cambodia through the border town of Aranyaprathet. Prasat Phanom Rung dedicated to Lord Shiva, is another ancient temple of Khmer/ Angkor style located in Buriram province of Thailand much like Prasat Phimai (which I have covered in a separate blog). The specialty of this temple is that it is located amidst a jungle on top of an extinct volcano that’s suppose to symbolize Mount Kailash. Hence it is a must visit for a anyone who is enthusiastic about history/ heritage as well as nature lover.

About 25 miles away, Nang Rong is the closest town and ideal base for visiting the Historical park and is connected through regular buses from Khorat (Nakhon Ratchasima) city. Honey Inn is the only budget friendly guesthouse in town and can be reserved in advance by simply dropping them a mail or by phone. Contact information are available in their website. Departing from Phimai early in the morning, I reached Nang Rong at mid noon, via Khorat. The guesthouse is hardly a kilometer away from the bus station and taxis are available at the bus station to take you to the guesthouse. As soon as I reached the guesthouse, I quickly re-freshened and took one of their rental bike for visiting the Phanom Rung Historical park.

Initially the ride was quite hectic on the highway which was bustling with heavy trucks and cars. But once I exited the highway and made the turn towards the temple, it it was a pleasant ride through the country sides of Thailand. There were well displayed sign boards along the route to the Historical park for assistance. Due to a brief stop in the highway due to rains, I reached the park in about an hour time.

A brief stop in highway due to rains

Photo of Nang Rong, Nang Rong District, Buri Ram, Thailand by Muthu Venkatesh

Along the country sides of Thailand

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

Through the National Park

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

With a entry fee of 100 bhat you get a pamphlet containing the details of the history and architecture of the temple for a self guided tour. Apart from the main entrance there is another entrance a few hundred meters ahead that takes you directly to the hill top in your vehicle. The architecture of the temple is of typical Khmer style, consisting of three levels of naga bridges (which symbolize the connection between heaven and earth), a passageway, a main entrance and the inner sanctum with temple tower.

First Naga Bridge and passage way

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

First Naga Bridge

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

Main entrance and second naga bridge

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

Third naga bridge ( between main entrance and temple tower)

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

Temple tower and Sanctum

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

Temple tower

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

The temple which stands in solitude on the hill top in the middle of jungle has a very peaceful and soothing atmosphere. The carvings around the temple tower depicts various events from Hindu mythology. Walking around the gives you the vibes of being carried away back in the time.

Carving in main entrance

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

Carving of Lord Shiva (up) and Vishnu (down)

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

Carvings on main tower depicting Hindu mythology

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

Carvings on main tower

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh
Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

Shiva and nandi

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

Inside the sanctum lies a shiv ling and nandi (cow – vehicle of lord shiva)

Shiv Ling inside the main sanctum

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

Nandi inside the sanctum

Photo of Roads Less Traveled in Thailand – Phanom Rung by Muthu Venkatesh

Not very far from Phanom Rung is Prasat Mueang Tam in the outskirts of a quite little village. Mueang Tam literally means lower city in the ancient khmer and was used to be the temple complex built for the common people. Simple yet stunning in its own way, Prasat Mueang Tam is also a must visit if you are in Buriram province of Thailand.

Main entrance of Prasat Muang Tam

Photo of Prasat Muang Tam, Chorakhe Mak, Prakhon Chai District, Buri Ram, Thailand by Muthu Venkatesh

Carvings in Main entrance

Photo of Prasat Muang Tam, Chorakhe Mak, Prakhon Chai District, Buri Ram, Thailand by Muthu Venkatesh
Photo of Prasat Muang Tam, Chorakhe Mak, Prakhon Chai District, Buri Ram, Thailand by Muthu Venkatesh

Four Sanctums each dedicated to a god

Photo of Prasat Muang Tam, Chorakhe Mak, Prakhon Chai District, Buri Ram, Thailand by Muthu Venkatesh

Sanctum of Lord Shiva

Photo of Prasat Muang Tam, Chorakhe Mak, Prakhon Chai District, Buri Ram, Thailand by Muthu Venkatesh

Carving of Lord Shiva with Parvathi

Photo of Prasat Muang Tam, Chorakhe Mak, Prakhon Chai District, Buri Ram, Thailand by Muthu Venkatesh

One of the four sanctums

Photo of Prasat Muang Tam, Chorakhe Mak, Prakhon Chai District, Buri Ram, Thailand by Muthu Venkatesh

Side entrance of Muang Tam

Photo of Prasat Muang Tam, Chorakhe Mak, Prakhon Chai District, Buri Ram, Thailand by Muthu Venkatesh

Muang Tam temple complex

Photo of Prasat Muang Tam, Chorakhe Mak, Prakhon Chai District, Buri Ram, Thailand by Muthu Venkatesh

The next morning I left to Aranyaprathet, which is the main border crossing between Thailand and Cambodia. From Nang Rong it takes about 3 hours by bus to reach Aranyaprathet and before noon I completed my immigration formalities and left the Thai border by foot to enter Cambodia.

Thailand border in Aranyaprathet

Photo of Aranyaprathet, Aranyaprathet District, Sa Kaeo, Thailand by Muthu Venkatesh

Do check out my other two blogs of Thailand in the link below. Cheers until next time :)

This blog was originally published on 'mytravelhustle'

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