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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Kham Thale So - Some Interesting Stuff

I rode my bike out to Kham Thale Soh village hoping to see their old rice mill in action. Instead I found the village engaged in a Kathin ceremony (to mark the end of Buddhist Lent) and some old Mon/Khmer artifacts.

Rice fields. Recently harvest in front. Ready to go behind.

Bad choice of roads. 

A shame to see such crappy work on this big and recently constructed irrigation canal.

Kham Tale So rice mill.

Dried rice piled up at Wat Kham Thale So.

This huge (meter long) hunk of sandstone is probably a building block left over from what was once a large Khmer structure. There is no sandstone locally, so this must have been quarried from the area around Pak Chong (80K to the West) and brought to Kham Thale So.

Another sandstone building block. The circular holes were for dowels used to carry and place the building blocks.

This new, still under construction building is meant to protect what is left of a very old ubosot (worship hall) at Wat Kham Thale So.

These posts and beams are all that's left of the old ubosot.

The Buddha image on the left is very old and was carved from wood.

These Buddha (?) images are ancient. I've never seen anything like them. My guess is that they are Mon from the Dvaravati period from the 7th to the 10th century.

Another similar triptych. Sadly, these ancient stone carvings have not been well cared for. At the moment they are just sitting out in the open at a small wat in an isolated village.

Altar of the old ubosot.

Phra Sangkajai (Maha Kaccana) - A monk contemporaneous with Buddha.

Kathin Ceremony

Short video of Khatin parade

Drying rice not far from Kham Thale So

Time for some wild speculation on my part. There is good evidence of a significant Khmer presence in the are immediately to the northwest of Korat. See, for example:

My guess is that the Khmer communities were quite large and supported by reservoirs and canals not unlike those found at Angkor Wat. My notes on the map below show that the marsh now known as Bueng O was probably once a large reservoir which provided water for Kham Thale So and other villages via a series of canals.

As I said, unsupported speculation, but certainly possible.

The unfortunate thing is that no science is being done on these places. Aside from the poorly restored Khmer tower at Wat Prang, there's absolutely no informed study or preservation underway.

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