Ho Nang Usa (Thai: หอนางอุสา) is the most impressive rock formation at Phu Phrabat Historical Park (Thai: อุทยานประวัติศาสตร์ภูพระบาท) Udon Thani, Thailand.
Most of the bizarre rock formations in the park are featured in a legend about a king (Phaya Kong Phan), his stunningly beautiful daughter (Nang Usa), a hermit (Rishi Chantra) and a love-struck prince from another kingdom (Tao Baros). Ho Nang Usa is said to be the tower where the beautiful princess was forced to live by her overprotective father.
Story Of Nang Usa And Tao Baros
Nang Usa was the daughter of Phaya Kong Phan, ruler of the city Phan, and Nang Saeng Deuan. When Nang Usa was old enough to receive an education, Phaya Kong Phan placed her in the care of the ascetic Rishi Chanta. A tower was constructed in the forest for her to live in. Nang Usa studied the arts under Rishi Chata until she reached the age of 16. She began to feel lonely and restless because she had no contact with other people and also because she had now reached the age of maturity.
One day Nang Usa made a float in which she placed a note bemoaning her loneliness and restlessness. This she set adrift in a small stream in the forest in the hope of finding a lover. The float was carried along in the stream until it reached the Mae Khong River. At that time Tao Baros, son of Tao Narai and Nang Kham Phaeng Kaew of Pakho Town, was bathing in the river. He saw the float and, after reading the note, set out on horseback in search of Nang Usa, not stopping until he had found her. He immediately fell in love with her and invited her to go and live with him. When the news of this reached Phaya Kong Phan he became upset and challenged Tao Baros to compete against him in constructing a temple. The temple had to be built in one night and construction had to be completed before the morning star (Venus) appeared. Whoever could not complete the temple in time would be considered the looser and would be beheaded.
Construction of the temples began with the setting of the sun. However, Nang Usa feared that Tao Baros would be defeated. She thus thought of a trick, she would light candles and place them in a tree on the top of a mountain to fool Phaya Kong Phan into believing that the morning star had risen and he would stop construction. Tao Baros continued building the temple and defeated Phaya Kong Phan. After that, Tao Baros took Nang Usa to live with him in Muang Phakho. They had not been living together long when Nang Usa became the subject of evil gossip, so she ran away and went back to live in her tower where she pined for Tao Baros and soon died of a broken heart.
When Tao Baros knew that Nang Usa had run away and gone back to her tower he set out after her to try and persuade her to return; however, he was too late. On learning of her death he was greatly distressed and he also died. After her death Nang Usa was reborn as Nang Suchada, consort of Indra and Tao Baros was reborn as Indra. Together they enjoyed sublime happiness in the heavenly realm.