By Daily Xpress
Published on May 21, 2008
Vandals destroy artefacts during raid to perform a superstitious ritual at Phanom Rung castle
Vandals invaded the historic Phanom Rung castle in Buri Ram early yesterday, destroyed a number of artefacts and mysteriously relocated a phallus in what looked like a superstitious ritual.
The phallus was moved one metre from its base and turned to face in a different direction. The mouths of 11 Naga King figures, two lion figures, and two hands of a guardian angel figure were damaged.
The vandals apparently performed some kind of a ritual inside the temple, but no other items were stolen, said culture office chief Somphong Wiriyakaru.
Candles and joss sticks were lit and left in the castle's main chamber, in addition to cigarette butts and plastic glasses. Phanom Rung historic park chief Dusit Thummaphorn said the damage resulted in some monetary loss, but the loss was tremendous in terms of historic value.
He said later that only two unspecified genuine artefacts were damaged, while the rest were replicas.
Dusit said the area had often been used by people who had their amulets or holy items "re-blessed" in various ceremonies, until he banned all rituals from being performed in the park site last October.
The ritual appeared to be a rite to apologise to the temple before the destruction began, although no one has specified a motive for the attack.
The genuine artefacts that were destroyed would be remoulded, Dusit said, adding the mouths on the figures were damaged because they were easy targets.
Muang Buri Ram police chief Pol Colonel Wichai Sangpraphai said the vandalism could have been due to internal conflicts within the historical park's organisation, from acts of mentally ill people, or by people who had lost benefit from the rituals being banned.
He specified a group of people who were banned from blessing the once popular Jatukham Ramathep amulets as prime suspects.
>> The Phanom Rung castle was built in the 15th century by Hindu priests.
>> It was turned into a Buddhist shrine 300 hundred years later by King Jayavarman VII (1181-1206), who converted to Buddhism. >> The castle, whose name means 'a large hill', was made from pink sandstone and stands 1,320 metres above sea level.
Bangkok's Independent Newspaper
I was there about a year and half ago. Lovely little temple near the Khmer border.
What does it take for the Thais to preserve their heritage??? There are major problems in Ayuttaha with theft too....they may even be taken off the UNESCO World Heritage list if they don't get their act together..
Appeasing the spirit world is far more important than ancient relics. I mean, they're only pieces of stone and stuff.
Next thing you know they'll be marrying snakes.
A civic group in Buri Ram has offered a 100,000-baht bounty for any information leading to the arrest of vandals responsible for damaging the ancient Phanom Rung stone temple. Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been linked by opponents to the incident, yesterday denied involvement in the damage to the temple.
At a conference organised by his Thaicom Foundation yesterday, he said such criticism linking him to the damage ''is insane''. He added that he had nothing to do with the incident.
Civic group leader Sophon Phetsawang said any informants could reach him directly via his mobile, 081-8085555.
The ancient Shiva Linga stone, which was in the centre of the temple, was found to have been moved off its plinth on Tuesday.
As well as the linga stone, a statue of the sacred cow Nandi of the Hindu god Shiva, a five-headed Naga statue, two statues of Singha, a mythical lion-like beast, and a statue of the guardian at the entrance were also partially damaged.
Police have also offered a cash reward of 50,000 baht to anyone who gives information leading to the arrest of the vandals.
Mr Sophon, a former Buri Ram MP and Puea Pandin party MP candidate in the last election, said damage at the historical park was related to sorcery.
A Brahman told him the removal of the Shiva Linga stone was believed to be an attempt to close the communication channels between the gods and other sacred spirits around the ancient temple.
Mr Sophon said he believed the vandalism was part of a ritual to overturn the rites performed by some of the military top brass at the ancient temple on April 5.
The vandals are on opposing sides of the top brass, he said.
Historian Thepmontri Limpapayom confirmed on a radio programme yesterday that the military top brass performed a ritual at the ancient temple on April 5 to bless the country with peace.
The vandals may not want those at the military ceremony to get what they asked from the gods, said the historian.
Mr Sophon said a group had reportedly performed another rite at Phanom Rung on May 19 to overrule whatever the top brass had asked for.
He also noted that Buri Ram politician Newin Chidchob, a former executive of the dissolved Thai Rak Thai party, was a believer in the supernatural. Mr Newin had made several trips to India to practise meditation.
The Buri Ram civic group will soon hold a ceremony at the damaged temple to apologise to the gods and sacred spirits, he said.
The Fine Arts Department has instructed its 6,000 officials to step up security around the more than 5,000 historical sites in the country.
Bangkok Post : General news
Sounds like a bunch of druggies having a party then.
Hot off the Press
The police authorities, bless them, have just ordered that yellow police patrol has just checked the temple/ heritage site boxes be set up so that plod and his mate can sign a record of their visit/ site check during thier routine patrols. because this will erm........ act as a deterrent to would-be vandals/ thieves/ occultists/ ne'er do wells etc. What about the in between times of said visits?
My apartment is visited on the dot at 2pm Monday to Friday by plod who sign a chit and place it in a red box, without even getting off their moped. What this has to do with security is beyond me.
It'll be blamed on the backpackers, the same backpackers that carried the bed-bugs onto the trains of SRT
Shit like this,,,,,makes me wanna spit innit
vandalism is worldwide
Vandals damage Stonehenge - Yahoo! News
Nerds watching Tomb Raider and freeze framing the shower scene too much.Vandals used a hammer and screwdriver to vandalise the Stonehenge ancient monument, the first such incident for decades, officials said Thursday.
The night-time attack by two men last week involved the central megalith in the 5,000-year-old ring of standing stones, with English Heritage saying the vandals could have been looking for a souvenir.
A chip of stone about the size of a large coin was removed, while a 2.5-inch long scratch was left on the Heel Stone, at the centre of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, near Salisbury.
The Culture Ministry plans to allocate 300 million baht to beef up security systems at historical sites across the country. The extra money, which will be used to install spotlights and closed-circuit cameras, was decided upon in the wake of the vandalism at the Phanom Rung historical site in Buri Ram on Monday, said Vira Rojpojchannarat, permanent secretary for culture.
The equipment will be installed at around 5,000 ancient sites across the country, while several at-risk historical sites in the lower part of the Northeast would get more staff.
He said the Fine Arts Department would start restoring damaged statues at Phanom Rung on Monday. The repairs would be preceded by a Brahmin ritual in accordance with Hindu belief.
House Speaker Chai Chidchob, meanwhile, offered a 500,000-baht reward for information leading to the arrest of the wrongdoers.
Mr Chai dismissed rumours implicating his family in the vandalism which some believed to have been linked to a black magic ritual at the ancient temple.
At the same time, a Cambodian politician said that ethnic Khmers were unlikely to be involved in the desecration of the temple and the very insinuation showed deep ignorance of Khmer culture.
Son Soubert, a member of the Cambodian Constitutional Council and a US and French-trained archaeologist, said he was disappointed some Thais apparently suspected ethnic Khmers would damage a temple as part of black magic rites.
He was responding to a Thai media report quoting police as saying the vandalism may have been part of an occult ritual.
The police also noted that many ethnic Khmers lived in the area.
''The Khmers of Buri Ram and Surin respect the Linga of Brahmanism because they believe if they desecrate it they cannot live in peace,'' he said.
Accusations have flown wildly about who may have damaged the temple and why, with the finger of blame being pointed to people ranging from Khmer sorcerers to Thaksin Shinawatra.
Bangkok Post : General news
Pid Mai Mid - Matichon; Column: ‘Pid Mai Mid’, May 31, 2008
[’Pid Mai Mid’ means something like ‘Can’t be swept under the carpet’.]
People have long been talking about there being ‘graven images’ and a highly-significant shrine on Phanom Rung Mountain in Buri Ram Province. It is also said that some other people recently tried to ‘desecrate’ some of the mountain’s venerated objects, in order to control the destiny of the province in such a way that the province might become instrumental in changing the destiny of the country.
It has been reported that a high-ranking Royal Thai Air force officer, of the rank of Air Chief Marshall (ACM), recently held a religious ceremony at Phanom Rung Mountain. It is also thought that the ceremony might have inadvertently motivated others to engage in the desecration of sacred objects that has since taken place at Prasert Phanom Rung [The originally-Hindu stone castle that sits atop Phanom Rung Mountain]. Bangkok Post, May 21, 2008 - An official and security troops inspect one of the damaged ancient statues at the Phanom Rung temple ruins in Buri Ram. The Shiva Linga stone, a symbol of the Hindu god Shiva, was also moved off its plinth.Some say that the ACM in question is none other than ACM Chalit Pukphasuk (AKA ‘Big Toi’), the Royal Thai Air force Commander-in-Chief. ACM Chalit visited an air force radar installation, also based on Phanom Rung Mountain, on April 5.
(Photo: Bangkok Post)
On the occasion of his birthday on April 5, ACM Chalit made merit at a number of different religious sites. After visiting the local radar installation on the same day, ‘Big Toi’ was accompanied by a number of military personal and local residents to Prasert Phanom Rung - where they held yet another merit-making ceremony.
ACM Chalit was seen to pray in front of a number of sacred relics at Prasert Phanom Rung - and was even heard to declare that, “I hope the situation in this country will soon improve, and that His Majesty the King will remain in good health.”
On April 7, ACM Chalit proceeded to Chiang-Mai Province to attend a ceremony performed by the famed astrologer, Warin Buawiratlert. The ceremony was carried out with the explicit intention of prolonging the destiny of the country. The ceremony included a special religious rite to locate a new Buddha image. This new image is said to portray the Buddha in the classic posture of enlightenment after having nearly being defeated by the ‘forces of evil.’
ACM Chalit’s prayers, at Prasert Phanom Rung, were heard clearly by both the military people and the civilians present at the ceremony. All, who were present, heard the ACM’s words - and most would have probably understood their wider symbolism.
It is important to note, however, that the influential people of Buri Ram regularly mix with the more ordinary folks of their province at such social gatherings. This would have meant that ACM Chalit’s message would also have been clearly heard by influential local politicians. Given the extreme sanctity of the new national Buddha image in Chiang-Mai; Buri Ram’s influential people would undoubtedly have felt great trepidation at the ACM’s actions and words. They might also have felt that both of these ceremonies were conducted to deliberately increase their sense of unease.
["Influential" must refer to the political faction of Newin Chidchob, and his father Chai Chidchob (current Parliamentary Speaker), which is said to control this province.]
Regardless of the possible reasons for sacred relics recently being desecrated in Buri Ram Province, ‘Big Toi’ was so annoyed by the vandalism that he ordered air force personnel to stand guard over Prasert Phanom Rung. He has also since said that the air force will cooperate with provincial officials to ensure that such shocking events never happen again.
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