Before becoming the Kingdom of Siam, some parts of Thailand were under the influence of the Khmer culture especially in the eastern and the north eastern regions. The Phanom Rung Stone Castle in Buriram province is one evidence that proves the highest point of civilization human kind has ever seen.
Located 400 meters above the sea level on the edge of an extinct volcano that is now a lush forested area, Phanom Rung can be considered the most impressive Khmer ruin in Thailand. It is believed to be over 1,000 years old and created in Angkor style. Not only does it appear on the provincial seal of Buriram for its beauty and historical worth, but also represents the heavenly home of a Hindu god, Shiva. The ponds around the castle represent the oceans around the Kailash Mountain where the mythological palace is situated.
Upon entering the sanctuary, you will walk across the Naga serpent bridges that symbolize the walkway from earth to heaven. At the entrance, stone carvings show the stories of Ramayana as well as figures of many gods of Hindu beliefs. The inside includes halls and galleries that were used for important royal ceremonies. Although made of sandstone and laterite, every detail of the castle seems extremely delicate reflecting the talents of men around the 11th century. The architectural intelligence here is also celebrated annually in April when a wonderful phenomenon of the sun shining through all the 15 doorways happens. This occurrence strengthens the faithful’s belief of the Shiva’s castle being the center of the universe.
With the great cultural and architectural importance, Phanom Rung Historical Park was nominated to become a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site in 2005. The Thai people as well as its impressed visitors all around the world are hoping it will not belong until Phanom Rung receives the title it deserves.
From Bangkok, use Highway No. 1 (Phaholyothin) and turn right in Saraburi onto Highway No. 2, 224, and 24 respectively. In Nang Rong district, make a left turn onto Highway No. 218 reaching Buriram. Once in Buriram, continue on 218 for another 50 kilometers. Turn left onto Highway No. 24 and proceed 14 kilometers to Ban Thako where you turn into Chaloem Phra Kiat District. Keep on driving for another 12 kilometers and you will reach the destination.