Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dharmasala at Ta Muen

A view of Prasat Ta Muen from the road
A close up look at Prasat Ta Muen, from the south side, with its five windows
I've been neglecting my blog posts on Isaan (NE Thailand) in recent days, so let's put that right with a look at one of the three Ta Muen temples very close to the border with Cambodia. What was a 'dharmasala' or rest house when it was constructed in the late 12th century under the stewardship of Jayavarman VII, Prasat Ta Muen is a great example of that ilk and even has a lintel still in situ. It would've been located next to the Royal Road that led to Phimai, which explains why it only has windows on the south side, the one facing the roadway. The solitary temple is made of laterite blocks, about a kilometre from its sister temple on the border, Ta Muen Thom. It has a 13 metre high tower with an adjoining long porch, five square windows bordered in sandstone and is very similar in style to the rest houses to be found at Ta Prohm and Preah Khan. In fact ther's at least 17 of them between Angkor and Phimai. The sole carving is a lintel of Buddha in meditation above a grinning kala face. Like all the Khmer temples in Thailand, the grass had been cut and the place looked very neat and tidy.
The east-facing doorway with its Buddha in meditation lintel and partial colonettes
Looking west along the porch and into the tower
The return view, looking east along the porch with the windows on the right side
Prasat Ta Muen with its well-cut grass and neat surroundings

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