The Ombudsman has stepped in to mediate a dispute between the Fine Arts Department and more than 1,600 locals in Phimai district who claim the department has declared 2,600 rai of their land an archaeological site.
The villagers insist they have legal rights to the land, which was included as part of the archaeological site that is home to one of the largest Khmer temples in the country.
They also said the department made the declaration without first listening to the opinions of affected locals.
By not doing so, the department is believed to be in violation of Section 58 of the constitution, a source said.
A meeting was held yesterday to try and resolve the dispute. It was led by the Office of the Ombudsman and attended by department deputy director-general Phanombut Chantharachot and affected residents.
via Bangkok Post, 19 and 20 September 2018: Residents in Phimai are protesting against the local Fine Arts Department head over plans to demarcate the entire municipality of Phimai as a historical site.
The Fine Arts Department infuriated many residents in Phimai municipality when it announced earlier it would proceed with the redemarcation of the historical area because nobody had raised objections to the plan within the set 30-day period.
Many residents want only the Khmer temple ruins in Phimai Historical Park and the ancient ponds as a historical site, not the whole municipality.
The protestors say that becuse of Mr Jaruk they live “without confidence and feeling insecure” for fear of eviction, because the new, expanded historical site would include their land and property.
via Bangkok Post, 04 March 2018: Developing story over the last week, as residents from Phimai, Nakhon Ratchasima Province protest the planned action of the Fine Arts Department to declare the Phimai area as a historic site. The historic site designation will impose some restrictions such as prohibiting construction over two storeys tall, but some locals are reportedly afraid that they will be evicted. See other related stories in the links below.
NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Despite the Fine Arts Department’s move to declare a 2,600-rai area in Phimai Municipality a historic site, a large number of tourists were still visiting the Khmer temple ruins in the Phimai Historical Park in Phimai district on Sunday.
- Phimai people want ruins declared historic site, not entire town (Bangkok Post, 3 Mar 2018)
- 300 Phimai residents protest over ‘historic site’ ruling (Bangkok Post, 3 Mar 2018)
- Phimai historical park locals can stay (Bangkok Post, 1 Mar 2018)
via Bangkok Post, 25 Feb 2018: Phimai is a 12th century Angkorian temple located in Northeast Thailand.
NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Residents in Tambon Phimai Municipality of Phimai district have raised an objection to the Fine Arts Department’s move to declare a 2,658-rai area a historic site, saying that they have lived in the area for generations, and have proper legal documents to prove their right to occupy the land.
The Bangkok Post has a video story on the Phimai Historical Park, a Khmer temple in Northeast Thailand.
The cost of repair to historic and archaeological sites from damage caused by the recent floods in Thailand are set to hit 600 million Thai Baht, or approximately USD$20 million. Among the 200 sites affected are the Phimai Historical Park and the Ban Prasat Archaeological site.
We’ve got a lot of Khmer culture and a spot of political intrigue in Indonesia coming up in this week’s mix of stories:
- Paul Schmeltzer brings us pictures from the Khmer temple of Phimai in Thailand.
- Currently based in Phnom Penh, Alison in Cambodia shares a recent article she wrote for Heritage Watch about The Royal Palace.
- An article in the International Herald Tribune discusses the furore in Solo, Indonesia over who is to succeed to the throne in the Surakarta Sultanate in a convoluted and tragically funny tale of court intrigue.
- Andy Brouwer writes about his taste of Khmer dance…
- and also about the 10th century Khmer temple Prasat Neang Khmau.
In this series of weekly rojaks (published on Wednesdays) Iâ€™ll feature other sites in the blogosphere that are related to Southeast Asia and archaeology in general. Got a recommendation for the next Wednesday rojak? Email me!
Last year, I featured the Living Angkor Road Project, a collaboration between Thai and Cambodian archaeologists to chart the ancient road between Angkor and Phimai. The project is now in its second phase, with an updated website.
A journey back in time
The Nation Multimedia, 22 January 2008
09 September 2007 (The Nation) – A feature on the Living Angkor Road Project, a joint study between Thailand and Cambodia to investigate a royal road connecting Angkor to Phimai. The road was refurbished by Jayavarman VII (c.1125-1215), a devout Mahayana Buddhist. Jayavarman VII is better known for constructing the city centre of Angkor Thom and is considered the greatest king of Angkor in Buddhist Cambodia. The Living Angkor Road Project wiki was previously mentioned in this site.
On the road to Angkor
Bilateral project seeks and preserves 12th-century trade route built by the ancient Khmer
By Aree Chaisatien
Braving the sizzling late-summer heat of the border jungle between Surin province in lower Northeast Thailand and Uddor Mean Chey province in northern Cambodia, I joined researchers tracing a route trodden by the ancient Khmer from Angkor to Phimai.
“Stay on the track,” we are warned from time to time. The trail has not been completely cleared of landmines.
This route has been in use since ancient times and parts of the road can still be seen – laterite blocks covered with moss and lichen.
03 May 3007 (Bangkok Post) – Three sites in Thailand are given World Heritage Site status by UNESCO.
Sites to get heritage status
Three ancient Khmer ruins and their surrounding areas and a historic park, all in the Northeast, have been declared World Heritage sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), officials at the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry’s National Park Department said. The sanctuaries of Phimai in Nakhon Ratchasima, as well as Phanom Rung and Muang Tam in Buri Ram were given World Heritage status. Surrounding historic areas were also annexed to the heritage sites.
The other heritage site is Phu Phrabat historic park in Udon Thani.
The Unesco World Heritage Centre has agreed to register both the sanctuaries, their surroundings and Phu Phrabat as World Heritage sites, officials said.
– The Art and Architecture of Thailand: From Prehistoric Times Through the Thirteenth Century by H. W. Woodward
– The Civilization of Angkor by C. Higham
– Northeast Thailand before Angkor: evidence from an archaeological excavation at the Prasat Hin Phimai by S. Talbot and C. Janthed