Tag Archive: Ancient city

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Candi Plaosan, also known as the ‘Plaosan Complex’, is one of the Buddhist temples located in Bugisan village, Prambanan district, Central Java, Indonesia, about a kilometer to the northwest of the renowned Hindu Prambanan Temple. Candi Plaosan covers an area of 2,000 square meters with an elevation of 148 meters above sea level. Plaosan temple was built in the mid 9th century by Sri Kahulunnan or Pramodhawardhani, the daughter of Samaratungga, descendent of Sailendra Dynasty, and who was married to Rakai Pikatan in the Hindu tradition. The Plaosan complex is an ensemble of two Buddhist temples, Plaosan Lor and Plaosan Kidul. The temples are separated by a road; Plaosan Lor is located in the North and Plaosan Kidul in the South. Plaosan Lor consists of two main temples and an open area known as a mandapa. Both temples have an entrance, a gate, and the guardian statue known as Dwarapala. Plaosan Lor and Plaosan Kidul are considered to originally be one complex.


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Taungoo (Burmese:  MLCTS: taung ngu mrui., pronounced: [tàʊɴŋù mjo̰]; also spelled Toungoo) is a city in the Bago Region of Myanmar, 220 km from Yangon, towards the northeastern end of the division, with mountain ranges to the east and west.

The city Burmese history was the Taungoo Dynasty which ruled the country for over 200 years between the 16th and 18th centuries.

The main industry is in forestry products, with teak and other hardwoods extracted from the mountains.

The city is known for its areca palms, to the extent that a Burmese proverb for
unexpected good fortune is equated to a “betel lover winning a trip to Taungoo”.

The best-known member of the areca palms genus is A. catechu, the areca nut palm.
Several species of areca nuts, known for their bitter and tangy taste, raw or dried, are routinely used for chewing, especially in combination with the leaves of betel, and dried leaves of tobacco which is root cause of oral cancer being carcinogenic, and calcium hydroxide (lime).

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The Shwedagon Pagoda (IPA: [ʃwèdəɡòʊɴ pʰəjá]); Mon: [tɕaɪʔ təkɜ̀ŋ], officially named Shwedagon Zedi Daw ([ʃwèdəɡòʊɴ zèdìdɔ̀]) and also known in English as the Great Dagon Pagoda and the Golden Pagoda, is a gilded pagoda and stupa 99 metres (325 ft) in height in Yangon. The pagoda lies to the west of Kandawgyi Lake, on Singuttara Hill. It is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda for the Burmese with relics of four past Buddhas enshrined within: the staff of Kakusandha, the water filter of Koṇāgamana, a piece of the robe of Kassapa and eight strands of hair from Gautama.

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Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Burma.
From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. Over the course of 250 years, Bagan’s rulers and their wealthy subjects constructed over 10,000 religious monuments (approximately 1000 stupas, 10,000 small temples and 3000 monasteries) in an area of 104 square kilometres (40 sq mi) in the Bagan plains.
Bagan, located in an active earthquake zone, had suffered from many earthquakes over the ages, with over 400 recorded earthquakes between 1904 and 1975. The last major earthquake came on 8 July 1975, reaching 8 MM in Bagan and Myinkaba, and 7 MM in Nyaung-U. The quake damaged many temples such as the Bupaya. Today, 2229 temples and pagodas remain.

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Hue Vietnam

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Phimai Historical Park is an ancient Khmer city of the Khmer Empire in Thailand situated in Phimai District of Nakhon Ratchasima Province and is about 60 kilometers north from Phimai, the Capital. The ancient Khmer city [ and earlier in 7 – 8 C part of Chenla Kingdom ] is surrounded by a moat adjacent to the Mun River on the east and north boundaries. Phimai is the largest Khmer ruins complex in Thailand and comprises an inner moated city, 565 by 1030 metres, which was built in the 11 – 12 C with further additions in the 13 C.
The Temple City was surrounded by a laterite wall 3,350 feet by 1,900 feet with the Temple enclosed by two walls, the outer measuring 900 feet by 720 feet and the innermost wall 272 by 243 feet. The complex includes the usual structures, naga terraces, gopuras, pavilions, a library. The key feature is the inner court yard which houses three towers. The central and principal tower was built in 11 – 12 C and is made of sandstone. The outer walls are decorated with lintels and bas-reliefs depicting scenes from the Ramayana, illustrating battles between Ravana and Rama. The southern side has bas-reliefs of Shiva and its interior has bas-reliefs of Buddha, Bodhisattvas and Mara. The Temple is Budhist, not Hindu and was part of the Mahayana school which was prevalent in the Mun Valley from the 7 C onwards.
Phimai has large and small ponds to represent the oceans. The central sanctuary is enclosed by narrow corridor galleries. Cruciform entrances [ or Gopuras ] are installed at cardinal points. Carvings of Hindu Gods ornament the pediments and lintels of these entrances. Within the sacred area the central tower [ or prang ] culminates in a lotus bulb shaped finial and represents Mount Meru. This is built of sandstone. The Prang is many tiered and rests on a base, which is a tall re-dented cube like structure which itself is set on other re-dented and ascending sandstone platforms. Below the tiers of the tower and set in the cube re-dented base was placed the linga, or phallic emblem of the God Shiva and later a Buddha image.
The other two towers were built in 13 C. One was made of laterite and the other, of red sandstone. The former houses a large sculpture of King Jayavarman [ of Angkor ] who reigned during its construction. Phimai has similar features to those at Phnom Rung , it has access via a long causeway with terraces, the stone balustrades of which are shaped as serpents or Nagas. These Nagas have multiple flaring heads which are crowned, and act as guardians of the earths’ waters and are said to represent the rainbow, the link between the world of men and the Gods. Accordingly when one approaches these sanctuaries [ or Temples ] via these Naga causeways one is reminded that as a devotee he or she is leaving the earthly plan, physically and spiritually, for higher levels of enlightenment.
Just north of Phimai Historical Park, and not to be missed, is the Phimai National Museum which houses Khmer artifacts and works of art from excavations, not only from Phimai, but other Khmer ruins in southern I ‘san. This complex is the most outstanding example of Khmer Architecture in Thailand.

UNESCO has Phimai designated as a World Heritage Site for future listing and the following is its description and reason for the designation.” Phimai or Vimai was the name of a large rectangular ancient Khmer city surrounded on all sides by boundary walls and moats, lying 260 kilometers northwest of Angkor. Prasat Phimai was the Mahayana Buddhist sanctuary situated at the center of the city. Prasat Phimai itself together with the Cultural Route and the associated temples of Phanomrung and Muangtam are among the finest Khmer monuments and constitute a testimony to the civilization, prosperity and wealth, and the power of the Khmer Empire at its peak. From Phimai the historical route stretched out Southeast into the southern sub-region of the Khorat Plateau leading to the pass across the Phnom Dongrak mountain range on the Thai-Cambodian border. In the ancient time of the Khmer Empire, travelers and pious pilgrims taking this route, which connected Angkor to Phimai, had at their disposal rest houses spanning over the route as well as some hospitals along the route. The remains of these rest houses and hospitals mark out Phimai ‘s unique cultural route, covering approximately a distance of 150 kilometers.
Prasat Phimai was originally built in the l l t century after a large part of the Buddhist Kingdom of Dhvaravadi was conquered and became the domain of the Khmer Empire. It is evident from the statuary of Phimai that it was built as a Mahayana Buddhist sanctuary. The inscriptions inside the principal tower also signify the Buddhist origin of Phimai, praising Lord Buddha and mentioning the name of King Suriyavaraman I as a Mahayana Buddhist, as well as specifying the years corresponding to the Buddhist Era of 1579 and 1589 ( 1036 and 1046 AD ). It is significant to note that other Khmer temples belonging to the same era, such as Angkor Wat or Prasat Phanom Rung, all were built as Hindu temples, the unique Buddhist sanctuary of Phimai being the single exception. Besides the Buddhist temple of Bayon in Cambodia, Phimai was duly recognized as the most important full-fledged Khmer Buddhist sanctuary by Jayavaraman VII the Great, who was a renowned fervent Buddhist.
The plan of the township was in the shape of a rectangle enclosed on all sides by moats and surrounding walls, of which traces still remain. Of the four walls, the front side of the ancient town stood, as the Temple itself, facing Southeast in the direction of Angkor. The fact that the temple of Phimai faces Southeast in the direction of Angkor instead of facing east, which is the common feature of other Khmer temples, is significant, the reason however, is unknown. It might have been by design to give effect to the special position and importance of Phimai in its relationship to Angkor, as made evident later by the command of King Jayavaraman VII to build rest houses and hospitals on the cultural route to Phimai.
The restoration of Prasat Phimai from 1964 to 1969 with the technical assistance from the French Government was supervised by Prince Yachai Chitrabongse and M. Bernard Phillip Groslier, who was the director of the restoration work at Angkor. The lintels on the inside of the buildings, depicting scenes of the life of Buddha as well as episodes from the Ramayana, are among the foremost of Khmer art. A very fine sandstone statue of King Jayavarman VII in meditation was also found inside of one of the buildings.”

” Lying on the cultural route halfway from Prasat Tamuan on the Thai – Cambodian border to Prasat Phimai are the two ancient Khmer temples of Phanom Rung and Muang Tam in close vicinity. Prasat Phanom Rung is magnificent, standing on top of an extinct, wooded volcano, and dominates the broad flat countryside marked off to the south by the Dong Rek Mountains, the thickly forested slopes of which lead away to the horizon. The construction of the temple took place in different stages, the first two brick towers dating back to the 10th century. These were followed by the small tower, which was built in the 11th century, and the principal tower, built in the 12th century. Other structures including the scripture repository and the pavilion were added during the reign of Jayavarman VII. The temple was for worshiping the supreme Lord Shiva, thus Prasat Phanom Rung represents his celestial abode on top of Mt. Kailasa. The monumental staircase is most impressive, with its strong moulding on the sides giving a feeling of power and mass, typical of great classical Khmer monuments. The plan of the whole complex was designed on the basis of the axis leading from the staircase to the principal tower. The principal tower and minor buildings all have doors in symmetrical positions on all sides. The main sanctuary, in particular, has superb decoration for its strength and delicacy. All the external and internal doorways have pediments and carved lintels and the walls and pillars are covered with friezes.
An extraordinary feature of the architectural design of the sanctuary, taking advantage of its geographical location, is the straight through way from the entrance door on the East leading to the farthest door, the 15 th door, on the western end of the structural complex. The design was made to display the spectacular sunrise of the two annual crossings of the equator by the Sun, beaming the majestic aura of the rising sun from the entrance door on the East straight through the fifteen doors to the western end of the doorway of the sanctuary. Around each time of the equinoxes, visitors to this day crowd the outside square on the west end of the Prasal Phanom Rung to witness the awesome spell of the emerging sun over the horizon through the fifteen doors at the western end of the sanctuary.”

Prasat Muang Tam was a Hindu sanctuary built in the 11th century on the plain 8 kilometers southeast from Prasat Phanom Rung. Although its setting is much less picturesque, its plan, importance, and the good state of preservation of its bas-reliefs make it an outstanding ancient Khmer temple. The plan of the temple is a vast rectangle, 120 by 127 meters, enclosed with a laterite wall topped by a strong rim. At the four cardinal points are four Gopuras in the middle of each side of the complex. The first courtyard is imposing in its proportions and is mostly filled with four symmetrical L shaped ponds, at each corner of which is the figure of five-headed Naga with the tails meeting at the top of the stairs on each side of the ponds leading down to the water. These ponds are separated from each other by four paths leading to the four doors of the inner courtyard which appears floating like an island. To the north of Prasat Muang Tam is located the baray ( known as Thale Muangtam, or Muangtam lake ), 510 by 1,090 meters, constructed as an integral part of the temple to symbolize the ocean surrounding Mt. Meru, which is the home of Hindu gods.
Associated Rest Houses and Hospitals along the Route; King Jayavaraman VII, according to the account appearing in ancient Prah Khan stone inscriptions in Angkor, commanded that 17 rest houses be built from the capital on the route to Phimai. Eight rest houses have been found on the stretch from Phimai to the pass across the Phanom Dongrak mountain range on Thai – Cambodian border. All rest houses are of the same size with typical identifiable structural features. The spacing of the location of rest houses varies from 10 to 26 kilometers, the different distances could have been due to the different types of terrain and the conditions of the trail encountered in one-day travel at that time. Unlike rest houses, hospitals were scattered, probably located where the communities were situated. Out of the remains of 18 hospitals found in the northeast of Thailand, six of them were on Phimai ‘s route. ”

Sukhothai Thailand

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The 13th Century fortified city of Sukhothai is a World Heritage Site as nominated by UNESCO. This together with the adjoining ancient wiang cities of Si Satchanalai and Kamphaeng Phet are major tourist attractions in Thailand.
Today what remains of these three cities are the remains of city moats and walls, ruins [ monuments ] in brick and laterite of palaces and monasteries, lakes and waterways and military ramparts.
Sukhothai Historical Park covers 70 square Kilometers with 193 ruins.
The major Sukhothai monuments are detailed has allocated them according to their location as being, within the walled City moat, North of Sukhothai city walls, South of the walls, East of the walls and West of the city walls.

Wat Mahathat Seated Buddha Statue Inside The Walled City Of Sukhothai

The ancient Sukhothai City walls consist of three concentric earthen banks, the in between spaces from which the earth was dug were originally moats. The eastern and western walls are 1,400 meters long and the southern and northern walls are 1,810 meters long. Each of the four walls has a gateway. These are made of laterite. The moats were supplied with water from the nearby Mae Ramphan Canal. Inside the walls are the ruins of 21 different monasteries and other buildings and 4 reservoirs. The art and architecture styles reflect the original Khmer, Mon, Sinhalese and finally Tai influences.

Inside the city walls the major Sukhothai monuments are:
Wat Mahathat
Wat Traphang Ngon
Wat Si Sawai
Wat Traphang Thong
Wat Sorasak

Wat Si Chum: Situated outside the town wall at the northwest corner, this ancient monument is well known for a sitting Buddha Image of large size. The Buddha Image with its lap of 11.30 metres wide occupies the total space of the building.
Mentioned in Stone Inscription No. 1; Phra Achana, the name of this Buddha Image, means one who is not frightened. It is believed that Phra Achana was originally carved in the attitude of subduing Mara. The present one in sitting posture was renovated from 1953 to 1956 AD.
Stone Inscription No. 2 known as Wat Si Chum Inscription was found in a recess in the mandapa wall of this temple. Regarded as historical evidence of great value, this stone inscription deals with the founding of Sukhothai dynasty. Moreover, drawings on the ceiling of the mandapa tell stories of former incarnations of Lord Buddha (Jataka) with a title written in the Sukhothai alphabet for each picture. Some of these pictures were drawn in the style of art similar to the characteristics of Sri Lankan art.

source: http://www.su.ac.th/sukhothai/