Thailand proposes Phra That Phanom for heritage list

NAKHON PHANOM, 8 February 2017: The Thai Cabinet recently approved documents for Phra That Phanom temple that will be presented to UNESCO to officially propose the famous temple as a World Heritage site.

The documents were written and collated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Last week, the Cabinet approved a documented proposal “Phra That Phanom, Its Related Historic Building and Associated Landscape.”

inside no 2Once UNESCO has reviewed the documents and made its own assessments based on field trips, Phra That Phanom will be included on a list of proposed UNESCO World Heritage Sites for approval at a future annual meeting.

General Prawit Wongsuwan, chairman of the National Committee on Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, is authorised to endorse the document.

The documents will be submitted to the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee for consideration during the annual general meeting that will be held in Kraków, Poland, 2 to 12 July this year.

Phra That Phanom faces the Mekong River in Nakhon Phanom province that borders Laos. It is believed to be one of the oldest shrines in northeast Thailand containing a sacred relic from the Lord Buddha.

According to the official history, Phra That Phanom was originally built before the 12th Buddhist century. However, it collapsed on 11 August, 1975,  after a prolonged torrential rainstorm that inundated the foundations.

The current pagoda is a faithful replica based on blueprints completed prior to the collapse. A 110-kg gold spire crowns the pagoda’s tip.

In March each year, a ceremony is held at the temple to pay respects to Phra That Phanom, the stupa that houses the Buddha’s relics.

Thailand now has five world heritage sites — three in the cultural category and two in nature. They are:

Culture:

Sukhothai and associated historic towns (1991); Historic City of Ayutthaya (1991); and Ban Chiang Archaeological site (1992);

Nature:

Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries (1991); and Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex (2005).