Prang (architecture)

A Prang is a temple tower. The Thai word refers on the one hand on the Angkorian tower structures, on the other hand on towers that build on this heritage style. A Prang is part of a Wat, a Buddhist temple in Thailand.


Between the early 10th and the late 12th century Khmer prang erected on the first day Thai territory, such as Phimai and Khao Phnom Rung - but also in Lopburi (see below, Figure 1). The Khmer culture, the modern state of the people of Cambodia was ruled by the major trading partners of India marked. This influence is visible: A Prang, in the language of the Khmer Prasat, resembles remarkably the Sikahara, Rekha also called towers of Indian temples.

Originally, the Khmer temples were dedicated to Hindu gods, particularly Shiva, but also Brahma. The rooms in which were the sanctuaries, the Cellae so-called, were relatively small. And for two reasons: First, the rituals that were held in them were of the elite - in the capital of the Khmer perhaps it was only the god-king, had the access. Second, it allowed the construction technology of the Khmer not to create large, airy halls. Access to the cella was carried out by a small, oriented mostly to the east porch, the mandapa. About the cubic Cella rose the central tower, image of the cosmic mountain Meru, first in steilstufiger pyramid shape, since Angkor Wat in rounded buds form.

After the collapse of the Khmer empire, the Thai builder of Sukhothai Prang adapted the form. They extended and streamlined them; the building material was no longer sandstone, but bricks; the cella was only accessible via a staircase. Examples can be found at Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat in Phitsanulok and in the same wat in Si Satchanalai ( Fig. 2). Later developments of the Prang indicated the cella on just yet. The front door was a niche in which the Buddha statue was placed, which had originally occupied the central position in the interior - for reasons of symmetry we repeated the niche on all four sides. At the top of the tower you put a " trisula " ( trident ), the weapon of Indra.

A "modern" Prang is a lean, an ear of corn similar construction that makes their Khmer origin only imagine yet. As the best example is the Wat Arun, the landmark of Bangkok. In Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, there are eight thin Prang in a row. Figure 3 ( Wat Pho, Bangkok also ) shows one of four towers that mark around the bot, the main points of the compass, Figure 4, three of the five towers of Wat Phichaiyat in Thonburi.

Figure 2: Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat, Si Satchanalai

Figure 3: Phra Prang in Wat Pho, Bangkok

Figure 4: Wat Phichaiyat, Thonburi, Bangkok