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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Surin and Phimai

Mam had some work in Surin province, so I went along for the ride. Not much happening in Surin. The Surin Wiki Travel page has nothing in the "See" section and the "Do" section is prefaced by, "Surin is not the most picturesque spot on the Earth,,,,"

I did walk around the center of town in the vicinity of the bus and train stations:

Approaching the train station along the rails.

This strange figure was guarding the entrance to a downtown wat (temple).

Surin's City Pillar is housed in this modern Khmer-style shrine. The shrine is also believe to house the spirit of the city.

Most city pillars in Thailand are not that old and were built in provincial capitals to symbolize central power. This one was erected in 1974.

We decided to take Google Map's recommendation as to the route home. This took us through Phimai where we had lunch and took some time to visit Phimai Historical Park.

Phimai is a Khmer, Angkor-era Hindu temple. It was restored in the late 1960s by French archeologists and the Thai Fine Arts Department. Some of it is very well preserved. It doesn't get many visitors.

(Wikipedia says that Phimai was built as a Buddhist temple. I don't see much evidence of that. All of the architectural sculpture is of Hindu deities and scenes from Hindu mythology. I think it likely that the Khmers wisely allowed the complex to be used by the locals as a Buddhist temple. Buddhism was introduced in the area 500 years before, during the Dvaravati period.)

Ongoing excavation of the inner moat and wall.

The central sanctuary is made of sandstone while the red prangs (towers) are made of laterite stone.

I think the central figure on this lintel is the Hindu deity, Hanuman. In this form he normally has five heads and five pairs of arms. Here I see the ten arms, but only one head.

There are many numbered stones throughout the grounds waiting for more restoration work. These are probably from collapsed enclosing walls.

The "Click to see in Google Maps" link below shows the location of Phimai Historical Park.

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