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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 Election Date Set For Late March, Fiver Years After The Coup

On Tuesday, Thanathorn told VOA the election was just a small first step in what would be a protracted struggle to wrestle power

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Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha gestures the Thai way shortly after accepting the ASEAN Summit and Related Summits' hosting and chairmanship for next year in Thailand from Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in Singapore, Nov. 15, 2018. VOA

Nearly five years after the military stormed to power in yet another coup, Thailand has finally announced an official election date scheduled for late March.

It comes with mounting defiance to the army’s tight control over freedom of expression, as activists and artists increasingly risk the threat of jail to publicly demand a ballot.

Thai Election Commission Chairman Ittiporn Boonpracong told a press conference Wednesday the date had been set for March 24.

“That is the date, which is flexible enough and should be beneficial to everyone concerned. That is the main reason why we decided to choose that date,” he said.

February date

Public frustration flared when it recently was announced the long promised vote would be delayed for a sixth time because of concerns the Feb. 24 scheduled date could conflict with King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s coronation in May.

Thailand
Activists and university students gather to demand the first election in Thailand, since the military seized power in a 2014 coup, in Bangkok, Jan. 8, 2019. VOA

That excuse had perplexed many, given that pushing the date back would bring it into even closer conflict with the coronation.

A group of arch royalists staged a demonstration directly outside the Election Commission to protest the pre-coronation ballot date immediately after it was announced Wednesday.

Wide field of parties

A particularly wide field of smaller parties now is set to contest the election in a political environment that has opened somewhat since the junta relaxed wide-ranging bans on political activities in December.

It will still be a democratic election, however, that comes with many autocratic caveats enshrined in the constitution Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha imposed after he seized power from Yingluck Shinawatra’s elected government in 2014.

Major concerns include the military being able to virtually hand pick the entire 250-person Senate. Future governments also will be locked into a legally binding 20-year junta-devised development plan covering everything from national security to social equality.

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Messages from activists demanding quick elections to end military rule is pictured at a university in Bangkok, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

Military retains control

Paul Chambers, a political analyst and lecturer in Thailand’s Naresuan University, said the military also would retain significant control over its budgets after the election through a constitution that also allowed for an unelected prime minister.

“So, there is a democracy, there are elections, but when people say, ‘Oh, Thailand’s going back to democracy,’ it’s not the same quality of democracy that used to exist,” he said.

A very powerful military that could appoint people to positions in the army previously overseen by the elected prime minister would remain behind the scenes, Chambers emphasized.

In October, incoming Royal Thai Army commander Gen. Apirat Kongsompong refused to rule out yet another coup after the election.

Thailand has had 19 attempted coups and 12 successful ones since 1932.

Thailand
A Buddhist monk and a patient sweep the yard at Wat Thamkrabok monastery in Saraburi province, Thailand, Feb. 3, 2017.

Rival parties

In addition to the Pheu Thai party aligned with ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and longtime rivals the Democrats, the pro-military Palang Pracharat Party will compete with several smaller parties.

One that has attracted considerable interest is the progressive and diverse team that has united behind 40-year-old billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit’s Future Forward.

Also Read: Calm Settles Over Congo After Election Result

On Tuesday, Thanathorn told VOA the election was just a small first step in what would be a protracted struggle to wrestle power from those who had controlled the wealth and power of the country for decades.

“So, if you want to correct what’s wrong over the past decade, there’s only one way you can solve that. You tackle the root cause of the problems. That means you have to deal with these structures, with this group of people. I haven’t seen any politicians trying to do this before,” he said.

“Since 1932, since the democratic revolution happened in Thailand — it’s been 86 years — and we’ve still been only this far. I believe democratization in this country will not be completed in the next year or two,” Thanathorn said. (VOA)