Located atop an extinct volcano, this ancient temple dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva is an impressive example of Khmer Angkor era temple architecture in Thailand. Inscriptions put the name of Prasat Phnom Rung’s creator as Narendraditya, a descendant of the Mahidharapura dynasty and related to King Suryavarman ll, the creator of Angkor Wat.
Assorted buildings and galleries all exquisitely carved along a 200-metre long pathway paved in laterite and sandstone, and lined with lotus bud pillars marks the start of your symbolic journey from earth to Mount Meru, the heavenly abode of the gods. The layout of the temple is such that on certain days during the year, one can stand at the westernmost entrance and see the rising sun through all 15 doors.
The walkway leads to the first of three naga bridges that eventually take visitors to the inner sanctum. Within the main sanctuary is a life-size statue of the bull Nandi, Lord Shiva’s vehicle, behind which stands the all-powerful Shiva lingam. The walls also feature carvings of a dancing Shiva, a reclining Vishnu (another part of the Hindu trinity), and the lion-headed Kirtimukha, representing both the lunar and solar eclipse because of his ability to swallow the sun.
A visitor centre at the entrance displays many artifacts, interactive models, maps and historical information. Go with the family or a group of friends.