Phra Rabiang

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A Phra Rabiang is a colonnade in a wat , a Buddhist temple complex in Thailand .


Khmer gallery in Phimai
Phra Rabiang in Wat Si Saket , Vientiane, Laos

From the 9th century, the Khmer kings of Angkor (now Cambodia ) dominated the entire northwest of what is now Thailand for almost 400 years. Your buildings are among the greatest achievements of architecture.

As with most Khmer temples of this time, the main sanctuary consists of a tall tower (the prang ) built of gray sandstone , the floor plan of which is square. A narrow, covered corridor, also known as a gallery, surrounds the most sacred area. The gallery usually has gates ( gopurams ) at the 4 cardinal points to which vestibules are assigned. Square windows open onto the courtyard. It was probably originally used as a ceremonial processional way to walk around the central sanctuary on behalf of Mount Meru .

Phra Rabiang in Wat Suthat , Bangkok

The Phra Rabiang in Thailand

This type of gallery can also be found in the Thai temple architecture of the following centuries. However, the Thais did not use sandstone, but bricks and wood, and the roof cladding was made of ceramic. Unlike the Khmer galleries in Thailand, which were closed all around except for a few barred windows, the Thai galleries are open to the inner courtyard, the roof is supported by pillars. Possibly this type of construction originates from the inner gallery of Angkor Wat .

The oldest example of such a gallery seems to be Wat Phutthai Sawan from the middle of the 14th century in today's Ayutthaya Historical Park .


The galleries in the numerous temples in Bangkok are just as popular as they were in Ayuthaya . A well-known example is the Wat Phra Kaeo , the temple of the Emerald Buddha in the Royal Palace in Bangkok. The entrances that interrupt the gallery are guarded by mystical giants, the yakshas . The walls of the gallery are decorated with paintings depicting Ramakien , the great Hindu epic about the god Rama and his victory over evil. The story is told in a total of 178 fields. The poems for this epic, edited by King Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok ( Rama I ), are written on marble tablets that are embedded in the pillars opposite the respective pictures.

While not all temples have a walkway, it is important to note that the Thais adapted the gallery to encircle the most important structure in the temple, making it the Khmer equivalent of Mount Meru, which is surrounded by several mountain ranges . At the same time, the walkway delimits the area in which the ceremonial walk around the sanctuary takes place on Buddhist holidays.


  • Rita Ringgis: Thai Temples and Temple Murals . Oxford University Press 1990, ISBN 0-19-588933-9

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Commons : Phra Rabiang  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files