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Sdok Kok Thom Khmer temple of the famous inscribed 1,000-year-old stele

Sdok Kok Thom Khmer temple of the famous inscribed 1,000-year-old stele

The Sdok Kok Thom temple complex can be found in the Sa Kaeo province of North East Thailand. This particular Khmer temple is one of the smaller ones in the region. The Hindu god Shiva was honored by constructing a temple with various names, including Prasat Sdok Kak Thom and Prasat Sdok Kuk Thom. It was built approximately in the middle of the 11th century.

Moats surround the property

Its layout and design are similar to those of other Khmer monuments. Prasat Sdok Kok Thom, like most Khmer temples, is oriented eastward. Moats and an outer wall surround the complex. A gopura, or entrance gate, is located on the east side of the wall. A water reservoir, or baray, is located outside the fence.

The procession walkway

The inner sanctuary with the central prang is reached via a processional walkway flanked by pillars from the outer gopura (a Khmer-style tower). The inner cover is surrounded by galleries, with access provided by a Gopura on the eastern side.

The private sanctuary

A single sandstone prang is placed on a laterite base inside the inner sanctuary. The prang has doors on all four sides, with only the eastern door open and the others closed with stones. The sacred linga, a symbol of the Hindu God Shiva, was most likely found in the prang.

There are two bannalai, or libraries, inside the galleries, close to the central tower, where the ancient scriptures were kept. Nagas, a mythological serpent, are depicted in various sculptures throughout the temple, some of which are wearing crowns. Another statue shows Vishnu reclining.

The restorations at Prasat Sdok Kok Thom

Prasat Sdok Kok Thom has been extensively restored in recent decades and brought back to resemble how it is thought to have looked.

Structures that have collapsed over time have been rebuilt using as many original materials as possible. When old materials, such as stones, were unavailable, newly created stones were used. The distinction between old and new building materials is easily visible because the new materials have yet to be made to look old. Hence, the color is slightly different from the old ones.

The 1000 years old inscribed stele

At Sdok Kok Thom, a stone stele with writing on it from almost 1000 years ago was found. It had some essential information about the ancient Khmer empire. Some text is written in the ancient Khmer language, while others are written in Sanskrit.

The texts written on the stele in 1052 have given historians much information about Khmer history. The sculptures contain information about significant events between the eighth and eleventh centuries.

The text details the family who built the temple, the services they provided to Khmer Kings over many generations, and the Sdok Kok Thom temple. It also describes everyday life events during the Khmer era. The inscriptions honor the Hindu God Shiva and include information about religious rituals.

How to get to Sdok Kok Thom

The temple can be found in the province of Sa Kaeo, in the north-eastern part of Thailand, between the towns of Aranyaprathet and Ta Phraya. It is situated close to the Cambodian border. As a result of Sdok Kok Thom’s secluded location, reaching it utilizing public transportation can take a lot of work.

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