A Visit to Khmer Temples in the Northeast Region of Thailand
The Angkorean Empire lasted from the 9th to the 15th century. During much of this period its influence extended over many areas which now lie within the boundaries of Thailand. The centre of power was located at Angkor which lies in the northwestern region of what is now Cambodia. Khmer culture and art were derived mainly from India, and adapted by the Khmer to suit local preferences. The two major religions of India – Buddhism and Hinduism – flourished and co-existed throughout the entire period.
The Khmer kings were much concerned with the control of water. By building enormous reservoirs and integrated canal and irrigation systems, they were able to control the monsoon floods and obtain two, perhaps three crops of rice annually, thereby sustaining a large and relatively healthy population. Good all-weather roads and bridges maintained communications and control throughout their sphere of influence. The power of the Khmer kings was absolute. They practiced the deva raja cult – the god who is the king of all god, selected by the king – whether Shiva, Vishnu or the Buddha – whose role is to protect and ensure the prosperity and longevity of the kingdom and the king. Nearly all surviving structures are religious and were intended as sanctuaries for the gods, representing the universe in miniature. The layout of each temple was therefore carefully planned according to Buddhist/Hindu cosmology. In order to please the gods, the surfaces were lavishly and exquisitely decorated with carvings which depicted scenes from Hindu and Buddhist mythology.
From the 6th century the Khmer began to expand their influence westward into what is now Thailand, reaching its zenith in the 13th century. During this period many Khmer style temples were built in the Northeast of Thailand. The most important sandstone Khmer style temples in Thailand are located at Prasat Phimai in Nakhon Ratchasima province and Prasat Phnom Rung, Buriram province. A good example of brick sanctuary towers is the nearby Prasat Muang Tam.
On this study trip we will be visiting the above sites plus the mid-11th century Prasat Phnom Wan and the Phimai National Museum with its excellent collection of Khmer artefacts found in the region.
The tentative programme will be as follows:
|Saturday, 31 October|
|07:00||Depart The Siam Society for Nakhon Ratchasima province by bus.|
|Noon:||(Approximately) Arrive in Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat).|
|–||Lunch at a local restaurant in Khorat.|
|13:30||Proceed to Phimai district.|
|–||Visit Phimai National Museum and the bulk of the collection consists of lintels and pediments from temples in the region. Some of the lintels and pediments in styles of the mid- 10 century.|
|–||Visit Phimai Historical Park.|
|17:00||(Approximately) Visit Prasat Phanom Wan.|
|Evening:||Dinner and overnight at Kantary Hotel Khorat.|
|Sunday, 1 November|
|–||Breakfast at the hotel.|
|08:00||Check out and proceed to Buriram province.|
|Morning:||Visit Prasat Muang Tam.|
|Noon:||Lunch at a local restaurant.|
|–||Visit Prasat Phanom Rung.|
|15:30||Depart Prasat Phanom Rung back to Bangkok.|
|Evening:||Dinner at a local restaurant in Pak Chong district.|
|22:30||Arrive at The Siam Society.|
|The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary.|
Note – To comply with the measures recommended by the government due to the COVID-19 pandemic protect yourself and others around you by knowing the facts and taking appropriate precautions. The Society kindly ask our participants to follow the safety and precaution measures that have been declared by the government and health organisations.
– Air tickets will be limited, so kindly make the payment as soon as you make a reservation.
The contribution of THB 9,000 (THB 10,000 for non-members), single room surcharge THB 1,100. will cover transportation as mentioned in the programme, accommodation for 1 night (two persons per room), meals, gratuities and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. In addition, basic travel insurance is included. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges. Please pay by cash or cheque payable to “The Siam Society”. Alternatively, you can transfer the money to The Siam Society travel account at TMB Bank, Asoke Branch, saving account no. 053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us.
For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert at Tel. 02-661-6470-3 ext. 504 or Khun Supanut Tel. 02-661-6470-3 ext. 506, Fax 02-258-3491 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Society office is open from 9am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday.