Phanom Rung Temple, Buri Ram Province, Thailand – Off the Beaten Track

Miracles and marvels at revered historical park and temple.

This is a grand and majestic Khmer site over a thousand years old, now a historical park.  It’s not the easiest place to reach in the Northeast, but it more than rewards those who make the effort.

Crowning an extinct volcano, this sanctuary has a knock-me-dead location – about 70 storeys above flat rice paddys, with vistas in every direction including as far as Cambodia’s Dongrek Mountains.

There are two reasons to climb it and photograph this great monument.

On the first Saturday  of April, the locals hold a special ceremony – Climbing Khao Phanom Rung Festival – which commemorates the restoration of the ancient temple which took 17 years to complete. The festival reflects an ancient folk belief that one should make a pilgrimage to the summit of Khao Phanom Rung to pay homage to the gods, deities and celestial beings that reside on the mountain at least once in a lifetime.

Restored Phanom Rung Temple by Wikimedia Commons

Take your boots.  The fair’s highlights include a rarely seen invocation ritual ceremony, a procession to pay homage to the gods and celestial beings, regional dinner, cultural performances, light and sound presentation and a wide range of souvenir sales.

Take your camera, too.

Also, during this April festival, period, there is an astro-archaeological phenomenon which takes place only 4 times a year. The sun rises straight through 15 doorways twice, in April and September. The sun sets through the doorways twice, in March and October.

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