Muang Singh historical park marked the Western border of the Khmer in Thailand. At the height of its power, the vast Khmer empire stretched out all the way West to deep into present day Kanchanaburi province in the Western part of Thailand.
Besides being a temple dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva, Prasat Muang Singh and surrounding town most likely served as a military stronghold, to defend the Khmer empire from attacks from the West.
Muang Singh, meaning “Lion city”, is completely surrounded by a laterite wall. The Khwae Noi river runs along the South end of the complex.
The main temple that stands in the center of the complex was built between the 12th and 14th century in Bayon style, named after the Bayon temple in Angkor that was built around the same time.
Structures at Muang Singh historical park
In Khmer temple architecture, the central prang (Khmer style tower) in the inner sanctuary represents Mount Meru, the center of the universe in Hindu belief. The central prang enshrines the linga, the sacred symbol symbolizing the power of Shiva. Of another large temple, only the foundation remains. The historical park contains two other, smaller Khmer structures.
During the reign of King Rama I, the first King of the Rattanakosin era at the end of the 18th century, Muang Singh acted as a stronghold to protect the Kingdom from invasion from the West.
In 1974 the Thai Fine Arts Department started renovation of Muang Singh, that was mostly covered by soil and overgrown by vegetation by then. After completion of the renovation in 1987, Prasat Muang Singh was made into a national historical park.
Although Muang Singh is not nearly as impressive as well preserved as other Khmer temples like Phimai or Phanom Rung, it is well worth a visit. The historical park is set in a very attractive, relaxed setting with forests and the Khwae Noi river running past it.
There is a small museum that exhibits several artifacts discovered at the site, including a number of Buddha images.