Thursday, June 14, 2012

Phimai Historical Park - Isaan's Khmer Trail

The Phimai Historical Park (Thai: ปราสาทหินพิมาย)  located in the town of Phimai, Nakhon Ratchasima province hosts one of the most important Khmer temples of Thailand.
The temple is believed to be build on the ends of an ancient Khmer highway from Angkor, nowadays Siem Reap in Cambodia, leading to the Khorat plateau.

The temple ruin area of Wat Phimai is similar in size as that of Angkor Wat. Phimai was an important temple, build in the late 11th to the late 12th century. In the same era temples as Baphuon, Bayon and Angkor were build. Interestingly, even though the Khmer were Hindu, Phimai was built as a Buddhist temple, as Buddhism in the Lao dominated Khorat area dated back to the 7th century.

The French geographer Etienne Aymonier was the first one to make an inventory of the temple in 1901. Later Phimai became a Historical Park, managed by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand. The Park was opened by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on April 12, 1989.

To reach Prasat Hin Phimai from the city of Khorat, head north along Highway 2 for 50 kilometers. Turn right and follow a sign to the Phimai Historical Park. 10 kilometers further down the Highway 206, you'll arrive at the town. From Khon Kaen it's about 120 kilometers south on Highway 2, take a left turn and follow Highway 206 until you reach Phimai town.