Community Participation in Safeguarding Intangible Heritage at the Phnom Rung Historical Park

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Film Synopsis
The Prasat Hin Phnom Rung sanctuary is situated at the summit of an extinct volcano in Buriram Province. Built during the 10th–13th centuries C.E., the Hindu shrine was constructed in dedication to the deity Shiva, and symbolizes his heavenly abode, Mount Kailash. Surrounded by ancient water reservoirs (barai), temples (prasat), hospitals (arokayasala) and rest houses (dharmsala), the Phnom Rung sanctuary and its environs were once part of the Angkorian empire.

With the collapse of Angkor in the 15th century, Phnom Rung lost its original function and meaning, yet it was never completely abandoned. Rather, different ethnic groups that subsequently settled in this area reincorporated the temple into their beliefs and religious practices.

This film is about the meaning of Phnom Rung to the communities in its vicinity, and how the temple’s designation as national heritage has affected their relationship to the site. In addition, it explores how communities might play a bigger role in the interpretation and management of their heritage.

Related Research
Sacred Space or World Heritage? An Ethnography of the Contested Meanings and Uses of Two Khmer Sanctuaries in Thailand’s Buriram Province

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