Muang Tam (at the foot of Mount ''Phanom Rung'')
Temple At Muang Tam
- Prasat Muang Tam (in Surin Province) was a travelers' stop over on the laterite road from Angkor Thom (now in Cambodia) across the Dangrek Mountains to Phimai (now in Thailand). In the time of Jayavarman 7th there were seven such major roads reaching the furthermost corners of the Khmer Empire (which included Thailand). Settlements were existing in Muang Tam since prehistoric times.
The site was a Hindu religious sanctuary constructed of laterite, brick
and sandstone. The artistic style confirms it was built during the 10TH
– 11th C. The centre of the site symbolically represents the centre of
the universe and is the seat of the principal of the Deity in
accordance with Hindu religious belief. The central tower was
originally decorated with stucco motifs (since destroyed).
- Today one can inspect carved lintels illustrating various Hindu deity, Shiva, Uma (the consort), Erawan (the elephant), Indra and Shiva.
- The Temple is located on the plains at the foot of Phanom Rung and as such forms part of the complex of ancient Khmer attractions to visit. It is on the South side of an ancient Baray (man made water storage lake). The Temple is surrounded by a gallery with the traditional four doorways, one on each side. The Temple is made of sandstone.
- Prasat Muang Tam was a Hindu sanctuary built in the 11th century on the plain 8 kilometers southeast from Prasat Phanom Rung. Although its setting is much less picturesque, its plan, importance, and the good state of preservation of its base reliefs make it an outstanding ancient Khmer temple.
- The plan of the temple is a vast rectangle, 120 by 127 meters, enclosed with a laterite wall topped by a strong rim. At the four cardinal points are four Gopuras in the middle of each side of the complex.
- The first courtyard is imposing in its proportions and is mostly filled with four symmetrical L shaped ponds, at each corner of which is the figure of five-headed Naga with the tails meeting at the top of the stairs on each side of the ponds leading down to the water.
- These ponds are separated from each other by four paths leading to the four doors of the inner courtyard which appears floating like an island.
- To the north of Prasat Muang Tam is located the Baray (known as Thale Muang Tam, or Muang Tam lake), 510 by 1,090 metrers, constructed as an integral part of the temple to symbolize the ocean surrounding Mt. Meru, which is the home of Hindu gods.