Excursions, Khmer Sanctuaries, Temples — 12 May 2015 15 h 23 min

Prasat Hin Phanom Rung

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Phanom Rung

Set on top of a long dormant volcano in an otherwise mostly flat area is this Khmer temple,

begun in the 10th century as a Hindu shrine and completed in the 13th century as a Buddhist temple.

Phanom Rung

The large temple complex, which visitors enter via a dramatic 400-foot carved stone walkway,

has six separate stone buildings connected by walkways or paths.

Phanom Rung

The main central prang, or stupa, is constructed in a corn-cob style typical of the era,

similar to the one found at Wat Arun in Bangkok. The rest of the buildings are covered in intricate carvings

with floral and other motifs as well as plenty of images of the Hindu gods Shiva and Vishnu.

Phanom Rung

Images and carvings of nagas, the five or seven-headed snakes

with significance in both Hinduism and Buddhism, are also found throughout the complex.

Phanom Rung

Although it’s impossible to know exactly what the engineers of the temple were thinking when they built it,

Phanom Rung was definitely designed with astronomy in mind.

During the 14th day before and after each equinox, the 15 doorways in the temple complex are perfectly aligned with the sun’s path

and offer amazing views of the sunrises and sunsets (many other Khmer temples were also built to showcase solar events).

Phanom Rung

These four days around March and September are the most popular times

to visit the temple and probably the only time of the year you’ll find crowds there.

Phanom Rung

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