Prasat Muang Sing is an important historical site along the Kwai Noi River. It is the ancient Khmer Empire’s most western border post. It was found in Thailand. It was a military stronghold and a temple dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. It was built to defend the empire against western invasions, but it also served as a relay point for trade along the river.
The main Prasat (tower) is direct across from the gate. It first appeared between the 12th and 14th centuries, around the same time as Angkor Wat in Cambodia. It is located in the heart of the compound and faces east, as do most Angkor temples. The central tower represents the center of the universe in both Khmer temple architecture and Hindu mythology. It is also where the sacred symbol of Shiva’s power, the Lingam, is worshipped.
Western most Khmer temples in Thailand
The historical park of Muang Singh was the boundary between Khmer and Thai territory on the western side of Thailand. At the height of its power, the vast Khmer empire extended to the West, all the way into the deep interior of what is now the province of Kanchanaburi in the Western region of Thailand.
In addition to being a temple that was devoted to the Hindu god Shiva, Prasat Muang Singh and the town surrounding it probably served as a military stronghold to protect the Khmer empire from incursions from the West.
The city of Muang Singh, whose name translates to “Lion City,” is entirely enclosed by a wall made of laterite. The complex is bisected by the Khwae Noi river, which is located to the south.
The main temple, found in the complex’s geographic center, was constructed in the Bayon style between the 12th and 14th centuries. It got its name from the Bayon temple in Angkor, been built during the same period.
The historical park of Muang Singh’s buildings and monuments
In the architecture of Khmer temples, the prang, or Khmer-style tower, located in the inner sanctuary, represents Mount Meru, considered the spiritual epicenter of Hinduism. The linga, a sacred symbol representing Shiva’s power, is enshrined within the central prang of the structure. The foundation is all that is left of another significant temple that was once much larger.
Two additional, less significant Khmer structures are also located within the historical park.
Stunning natural surrounds
Even though Muang Singh is less impressive and well-preserved than other Khmer temples, such as Phimai or Phanom Rung, tourists are still highly recommended to visit the site. The historical park can be found in a very picturesque and laid-back location, surrounded by trees and with the Khwae Noi river running right by it.
Muang Singh, in recent history
Muang Singh served as a stronghold to protect the Kingdom from Western invasion during the reign of King Rama I, the first King of the Rattanakosin era, at the end of the 18th century.
The Thai Fine Arts Department began renovating Muang Singh in 1974 when it was mostly covered by soil and overgrown by vegetation. Prasat Muang Singh was designated a national historical park after its renovation in 1987.
National Museum of Ban Kao
The Ban Kao National Museum is about eight kilometers from Prasat Muang Singh. This museum, built on a Neolithic burial site, exhibits items discovered there, such as earthenware pots, skeletons, axes, stone tools, and other thousands of old things.
Prasat Muang Singh is located in Kanchanaburi province, about 40 kilometers west of Kanchanaburi.