Sitting on an extinct volcano in northeastern Thailand in the Buriram province, Phanom Rung is a Hindu shrine complex regarded for its outstanding architecture. Located nearby the village of Nang Rong, this temple sanctuary was built by the Khmer culture between the 10th and 13th centuries as a dedication to the Hindu god, Shiva. Constructed of sandstone and laterite, Phanom Rung was built to represent Mount Kailash, the sacred home of Shiva.
With every aspect of the site’s architectural design signifying Hindu beliefs, Phanom Rung consists of various structures that once served different functions. One such building is the White Elephant House, a type of pavilion, which kings and royalty figures used as a dressing room before ceremonies and rituals. One of the most impressive features of the complex is the Processional Walkway, a long laterite-paved walkway lined with 70 sandstone pillars that are each topped with lotus bloom sculptures. Within its maze of annexes and porches, the main sanctuary houses the inner sanctum, which features icons that illustrate important Hindu stories. Elaborately sculpted bridges, carvings, gardens, pools and other artistic elements also adorn the shrine compound. Phanom Rung can be reached by buses, motorbike taxis and songthaews from Nang Rong.