Phra Prang

The steps through the four tiers of Phra Prang or the main prang, 81 metres high and surrounded by smaller prangs and mondops on each side and in between

The Phra Prang originated from the corner tower of the Khmer temple, becoming a new form of Thai stupa. Square in plan and domical in roofing it rises elegantly from a large base to an elliptical shape mass, designing a very fine looking outline. As usual, it has three niches and one entrance door reached by the means of a very steep staircase. The interior contains images of Buddha. The best example of Thai classic Phra Prang is at Wat Maha Dhat in Sawanklaloke. This old monument originally was past of a single architectural unity with the Bot erected in front of it. Such planning corresponds to the Khmer type borrowed from the Indian temple of the northern style.

Wat Chai Watthanaram, Ayutthaya

From about the end of the 17th century A.D. onwards the shape of the Phra Chedi and that of Phra Prang started to degenerate on account of two causes : one cause was to include the structure into a too slender narrow space and to give to much prominence to the basement, reducing sensibly the space of the cell of the Phra Prang or tht of the dome of the Phra Chedi ; the second cause was to replace old architectural mouldings with the 'S' shaped lion-leg of the Chinese low table. By transporting characteristics of Chinese wooden structures into brick ones, the Thai buildings lost their monumentality. This remark should be applied also in reference to the concave line of the longitudinal mouldings of the Bot or Vihara under the level of the windows (Outside). This concave line is meant to imitate the Chinese 'sampan' (boat). Out course, the effect is not quite architectural and should be reckoned as a sign of decline in architectural understanding.

The Main Prang within the galleries in front of the Mondop, Wat Rakhangkhositaram, Bangkok