Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ban Phluang in the rain

A decorative lintel at Prasat Ban Phluang shows Krishna fighting the serpent Kaliya
In November of last year I paid my first visit to Isaan, in northeast Thailand, primarily to have a good look at the Khmer temples located there. And there are quite a few besides the big-hitters of Phimai, Phnom Rung, Muang Tam and the Ta Muen group. All of the temples are in good shape, most have been meticulously restored by Thai archaeological teams and sit in manicured gardens. After an interesting stop at Ta Muen that straddles the Cambodian-Thai border, Tim and I headed for our final stop of the day at Prasat Ban Phluang, as we made our way back to our hotel in Khorat. It was pouring with rain as we reached the temple grounds, so using our driver's tiny umbrella, we dodged the rain as best we could to run through the sodden turf to the single sandstone tower that stands on a laterite base. Surrounded by a U-shaped moat, this late 11th century tower was restored in 1972 and contains some nice lintels, pediments and other decorative wall carvings. The tower has one entrance, facing east with three false doors and whilst the lintels are intact, other wall carvings remain unfinished, suggesting the constructors may've run out of money. As the rain continued, we headed back to the car at the end of a very successful day of temple-hunting in northeast Thailand.
The single sandstone tower at Prasat Ban Phluang
This lintel above the east door shows Krishna lifting Mount Govardhana, with kala beneath
Indra on airavatar above kala with rishis in close attendance, above the east doorway
An unfinished dvarapala guardian on the wall of Prasat Ban Phluang
The lintel and pediment above the northern door. The pediment shows Indra on airavata.
A decorative monkey blowing a horn, on one of the columns
Two more guardians, both at different stages of completion, at Prasat Ban Phluang

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