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Muang Tum: 1,000 year-old Lord Shiva Temple in Thailand

Muang Tum temple complex in the Buriram province of Thailand is a 1000 years old structure built during the reign of the Khmer emperor

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Muang Tum in Thailand. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Muang Tum is a temple complex also known as Prasat Hin Muang Tum and Prasat Hin
  • It is an Angkor-style Khmer temple built between 10th and 11th centuries  
  • It is located at a little distance from another Khmer temple complex called Phanom Rung

The Muang Tum  is an old Khmer temple complex which is located in Buriram province of Northeast Thailand. It is a 1000-year-old structure situated at a little distance away from the border of Cambodia. The actual name of the temple is Prasat Hin Muang Tum but there are various other names by which the temple can be referred to.

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Muang Tum. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons
Muang Tum. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

Muang Tum was built it in Angkor style when Thailand was primarily ruled by Khmer emperors. It stretches from present day Siem Reap in Cambodia to Phimai in Nakhon Ratchasima province, further North West. It was dedicated to Lord Shiva. Some intricate architectural manifestations of Khmer empire can be spotted in the temple complex. It was constructed roughly within the 10th to 11th centuries but was abandoned a few centuries later.

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In the northern side of Prasat Muang Tum, there is a lake or Baray. A water body which measures more than a 1,000 meters long and 500 meters wide is called a Baray. The lake is supposed to symbolise the ocean surrounding Mount Meru and forming the centre of the Hindu universe of Hindu cosmology. The temple has a rectangular structure with the main gate in the centre of the eastern wall. But there is a gate in the centre of each wall. The walls are built with the lateritic material. There are numerous beautiful ponds which have five-headed Naga antiques in the centre.

The five headed Naga. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons
The five-headed Naga. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

There is an inner sanctuary enclosed by a rectangular gallery. Each gate has gopuras and leads to rooms where Hindu ceremonies used to be held. Carvings of Lord Shiva, Uma and other mythological deities are found. They are well preserved. The inner sanctuary has five towers but the tallest one has unfortunately collapsed over time. This tower was the symbolic representation of the centre of the Universe according to Hindu cosmology. It also had a Shiva linga, the representation of Shiva’s unparalleled strength. The temple library keeps the Hindu scriptures archived.

In order to get to the Buriram province of Thailand where Muang Tum is located, one has to take a bus from Buriram town to either of the villages, Nong Rong or Prakhon Chai. From there the tourist can avail the motorbike taxi service to get to the temple. It would definitely be a lot easier to get there by organised tour.

-by Atreyee Sengupta, an intern at NewsGram.

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SHARE
  • Karishma Vanjani

    Thailand is a country thats known for it’s abundance of worship houses from Angkor to Muang Tum and then some more

  • Aparna Gupta

    Lord Shiva is worshipped everywhere including Thailand. The temple proves the prominence of Lord Shiva in Thailand.

  • AJ Krish

    Its really surprising that the Hindu culture had spread far. Large temples built to worship Hindu deities tells us how influential our faith is. Its sad that the people within India fail to embrace it.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Globalization is not the scenario of just the modern days! 😉

Next Story

Thailand’s Prime Minister Urge Residents of Bangkok to Wear Face Masks after Smog Cover Parts of Capital

He also asked the construction and manufacturing sectors to reduce activities that release pollutants

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Thailand, Prime Minister, Bangkok
A thick layer of smog covers Lumpini Park in central Bangkok, Thailandy, Sept. 30, 2019. VOA

Thailand’s prime minister urged residents of Bangkok to wear face masks on Monday after smog covered parts of the capital in what some fear is a harbinger of more pollution to come.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha warned in a statement on his Facebook page that the concentration of tiny dust particles called PM2.5 in the air had reached unsafe levels and said he has ordered government agencies to expedite anti-pollution measures. He also asked the construction and manufacturing sectors to reduce activities that release pollutants.

Smog levels are expected to stay high for the next two or three days.

The head of the country’s Pollution Control Department, Pralong Damrongthai, said the visibly dirty air was not caused by smoke originating from forest fires in Indonesia. Since last month, haze blown by monsoon winds from fires in Indonesia has affected nearby countries including the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and parts of southern Thailand, raising concerns about aviation safety and health.

Thailand, Prime Minister, Bangkok
Thailand’s prime minister urged residents of Bangkok to wear face masks on Monday after smog covered parts of the capital in what some fear is a harbinger of more pollution. Pixabay

Indonesian officials say they have made progress in containing the fires, including successful efforts at rainmaking, which they say reduced the number of fire “hotspots” from more than 5,000 about two weeks ago to 491 on Sunday.

Thailand’s Pralong told Thai PBS television that the problem in Bangkok is due to still air and high humidity becoming loaded with ultrafine dust from vehicle emissions, construction sites and other pollutants. He said it was then trapped close to the ground by a blanket of warm air in what meteorologists call an inversion.

Thailand’s government has set a safe level of 50 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter of air, although other countries have lower limits. The Pollution Control Department’s website put Monday’s level as high as 79 micrograms.

PM2.5 particulates are small enough to be sucked deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream, and can cause respiratory problems and may raise risks of cardiovascular disease and cancers.

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It’s the second time this year Bangkok has been blanketed with a cocktail of pollutants. Smog levels also spiked back in January.

Pralong acknowledged the pollution levels might shoot up again in January and February, during the dry season, when farmers burn fields to make way for new planting, another factor that contributes to the problem. He said his department and other units are preparing more stringent measures to better handle the problem than earlier this year.

As the noxious smog settled over Bangkok, many residents fished out masks from drawers and went about their business.

“A lot of my friends are saying they come to the office, their noses are running. Their eyes really hurt. All of them are really coughing today. It’s not normal anymore,” said Piyavathara Natthadana, an office worker who was wearing a mask.

Thailand, Prime Minister, Bangkok
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha warned in a statement on his Facebook page that the concentration of tiny dust particles called PM2.5 in the air had reached unsafe levels. Pixabay

“There’s not much we can do. We have to monitor the news and protect ourselves,” said Chakrapong Sanguanjit, another Bangkok resident walking downtown with a mask on.

Some environmentalists blamed the government for failing to act fast enough, despite being well aware of the issues.

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“The cause of the problem is the same. The sources of the pollution are the same. But measures to control the sources of pollution are not implemented yet because they said that takes time,” said Tara Buakamsri of the environmental group Greenpeace. (VOA)