MuengTam Sanctuary or Prasat Mueang Tum


MuengTam Sanctuary or Prasat Mueang Tum

MuengTam Sanctuary or Prasat Mueang Tum is located in Jorakae Mak Sub-District, Prakhonchai District, Buriram Province. It is only 8 kilometers from famous Phanom Rung Historical Park. MueangTam Sanctuary is a large community religious site in Hinduism presumably built for worshipping Shiva. From archaeological excavations, clear evidence revealed that human settlements had been established in the area, for instance, Khok Muang Community. It is significantly situated on the main communication route that runs from Mueang Phra Nakhon, the center of the ancient Khmer Kingdom (Siem Reap), to the north passing Phanom Dong Rak Mountain Ranges, Prasat Ta Muean in Surin, Prasat Mueang Tam to Prasat Phanom Rung and Prasat Phimai in Nakhon Ratchasima. It is assumed that the ancient community at Mueang Tam Sanctuary had a vital relationship with other communities on Khmer Civilization Route from Mueang Phra Nakhon to the northeast of Thailand.

Prasat Muang Tam is constructed in rectangular shape facing the east with three types of building materials namely brick, sandstone and laterite consisting of the following buildings:

  • The boundary wall is made of laterite bordered the sanctuary in the rectangular shape. The edge of the wall was once decorated by Baralee, row of spires, and in the middle is a huge sandstone porch called Gopura.
  • Prasat Muang Tam Square and ponds are in between the corridor and the boundary. At each of the four corners of the gallery is a large L-shaped pond with the laterite steps to the bottom of the pond. On top of the corner is sandstone craved five-headed Naga and two access stairways along the edge (Ba Phuon Art).
  • Rabiang Khot and porches. The inner wall is made of sandstone and is one long, narrow continuous corridor, called Rabiang Khot which connects to a rectangular shaped gallery surrounding the towers and halls. In the center of each side of the gallery is a large porch or access doorway and inside the gallery are windows decorated with balustrades.
  • The brick towers in the center of the sanctuary are the most significant buildings where Hindu icons are enshrined and the worship ceremony is held. There is a cluster of 5 towers standing on the same laterite base which can be divided into two rows with three in the front row and two in the rear row. The tower in the center being the principle tower which symbolically represents the center of the universe is the seat of the principle of the deity in accordance with Hindu religious belief and now enshrines a large Shiva Linga discovered in the vicinity of the brick towers.
  • Bannalai refers to a repository or library for storing sacred texts and manuscripts situated the two halls in the front of the cluster of the brick towers.
  • Barai, located to the north of the sanctuary, is a big water reserve called “Mueng Tam Sea” by local people. It is in rectangular shape with laterite edge. Not only it religiously symbolizes the ocean of the universe but also ran the ancient community as the main water resource.

Direction to Muangtam Ruin: MuangTum Sanctuary is located only 8 kilometers from Phanomrung Historical Park. From the parking area at Phanom Rung Historical Park, take the road to Prakhonchai District. After you get down the hill about 500 meters, turn right following the sign and proceed about 3 kilometers.