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DailyOperating time: 08.30 - 16.30
Category : Historical Sites & Monuments
Attraction Details :
Si Thep Historical Park is an interesting source of knowledge on ancient remains of Phetchabun, covering the area of Si Thep Ancient Town, which was originally called “Mueang Aphai Sali”, believed to have been constructed during the prosperous time of the Ancient Khmer Empire, aged not less than 1,000 years.
Si Thep Ancient Town is surrounded by a moat and a mound, covering an area of 2,889 rai. It is divided into 2 parts; namely, the inner town and the outer one. The inner town covers an area of 1,300 rai. Its shape is nearly a circle with a diameter of 1.5 kilometres with 6 entrances. The compound of the town is an undulating plain with ponds and swamps scattered around the area. There has been a discovery of more than 70 ancient remains. Some have been excavated and renovated. The outer town covers an area of 1,589 rai in a rectangular shape, connecting to the inner one. It is double the size of the inner one with 6 entrances, as well as, ponds and remains scattered within the compound.
Important remains and attractions in the park are as follows:
The Information Centre (New Centre) is a building displaying ancient remains and exhibitions on the history and archaeology of the Si Thep Historical Park, comprising a conference room or a lecture room prior to entering an exhibition hall.
The Archaeological Excavation Building is a building displaying human skeletons and those of the elephant which were discovered in 1988.
The Information Centre (Old Centre) is an exhibition venue displaying information in rotation on history, archaeology, as well as, activities on the preservation of arts and culture. The building comprises an exhibition hall and a book and souvenir shop.
Prang Song Phi Nong comprises 2 prangs situated on a large laterite base facing west, each with a single entrance. From the archaeological excavation, a stone lintel engraved into the God Shiva carrying his consort Parvati sitting on his mount Usubharaj bull was discovered. The characteristics of the lintel and colonnettes of the entrance are factors for considering the age of the prang. It is estimated to have been built during the 11th -12th century in the Baphuon style of Khmer art and the Angkor Wat Period. The small prang was later constructed on the boundary wall surrounding the large prang. Moreover, some construction was made to obstruct the entrance by making an additional platform at its front, as well as, a small construction in the north.
Prang Si Thep is architecture in the Khmer style of art facing to the west. It is made of bricks and laterite. The base is made of laterite into the so-called lotus base, similar to the general Khmer architecture, while the relic chamber is made of bricks. From the excavation in this area, engraved lintel fragments aged around the 11th - 12th century were discovered. It is assumed to have been constructed in a period later than the Khao Khlang Nai. Later, in the 13th century, there was an attempt to renovate it, but this was not succeesful, assuming from the scattered leftovers in the area. Between Prang Song Phi Nong and Prang Si Thep is a surrounding wall and small ceremonial constructions scattered around. It presents the Khmer style of architectural plan for religious sites, similar to those found in the northeastern part of Thailand.
Khao Khlang Nai Ancient Monument is situated nearly in the middle of the town, and was constructed around the 6th – 7th century. Its plan is rectangular facing to the east, and its art is similar to Dvaravati towns such as Nakhon Pathom and Khu Bua Ancient Town. The laterite was utilised as a main construction material. Around its base are decorative stucco sculptures of human beings and animals in the Dvaravati style of art. The structure has been believed to be a weapon and treasure cellar and thus, has been called “Khao Khlang”.
Chaopho Si Thep Shrine is behind the Saen Ngon Gate (in the west). The shrine has been highly revered by the locals. Every year, there will be a worshipping ceremony in February during the 2nd – 3rd day of the waxing moon in the 3rd lunar month.
Apart from the aforementioned ancient remains, there are minor ones scattered in every direction. In the south of Khao Khlang Nai stands a laterite ordination hall with stone boundary markers that were found near the excavation site. There is also a square ancient remain in the Dvaravati style, which was covered by another construction during the Hindu period. It presents that the inner town was likely to have existed in the Dvaravati period, while the Khmer architecture was constructed later.
Besides, in the south a large Mondop in the Dvaravati style was discovered, which was later changed into a Hindu temple during the early 13th century, but was not finished; it was similar to Prang Si Thep. Moreover, an ancient pond called “Sa Kaeo” outside the town to the north, and “Sa Khwan” within the outer town were discovered. Both are still full with water throughout the year. The water inside is believed to be sacred and has been utilised in the Oath of Allegiance Ceremony up to the present time.
Si Thep Historical Park is open daily from 8.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. Entrance fee is 30 Baht. For a group visit or a request for a lecturer, contact Si Thep Historical Park, Si Thep District, Phetchabun 67170, Tel. 0 5679 1787 or www.srithep.fineart.go.th. Moreover, there is a service tram provided costing 10 Baht a person.
How to get there :
Si Thep Historical Park is 130 kilometres from Mueang Phetchabun along Highway 21, Saraburi – Lom Sak Road. At Km. 102, turn into Highway 2211 for around 9 kilometres, and a direction sign to the entrance of the ancient town will be seen on the right hand side.
There are both ordinary and air-conditioned buses departing the Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2), Kamphaeng Phet Road, to Amphoe Si Thep Market (Ban Klang) and take a service car to the park.