Located in the province of Nakhon Ratchasima, in the town of Khorat about 3 hours from Bangkok, the Phimai Historical Park (Thai: ปราสาทหินพิมาย) is one of the most important archaeological ruins in Thailand constructed in the 12th century A.D . Within the complex is located one of the most significant Khemer temples of the nation.
On the other hand, the Phimai ruins have many similarities to the Angkor Wat Temple located in Cambodia, which makes both of them a good example of the classic architecture of the Khmer Empire.
Khmer is the name referred to the Empire than in its best years, became the largest and most powerful of Southeast Asia and its borders encompassed most of what is now Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. Its headquarters was in the city of Angkor in Cambodia where it left as a legacy a temple of great importance, which is recognized as the largest religious monument in in he world.
This site is known as the Angkor Wat ruins and connects directly by road to the Temple of Phimai in Thailand, which indicates that possibly, the actual Phimai District must have been an important place in the times of the Khmer Empire.
The first inventory of the ruins of Phimai was performed by the French geographer Etienne Aymonier in 1901 and the restorations were made gradually, beginning at end of the Decade of the 60’s to be finished by 1989.
The complex resembles the shape of the universe, with a central building or Prasat Hin Phimai as the centre of all. It is 28 meters high and rises to the sky in an explosion of ornaments and carved details. There are also different shrines or temples which explain the Khmer mythology and a wall that surrounds the complex symbolizing the boundaries of it.
The Khmer civilization used bricks, sandstone and laterite effectively and the builders cleverly cut the stones at 45 degrees to produce triangular wedges.
Another of the great architectural features of the Phimai Historical Park are the mix of Hindu and Buddhist influences which are reflected in all his works.
This is basically told that the place was a temple or sanctuary for religious activities to worship Buddha, although on some walls are some Hindu deities which have caused a bit of controversy on the veracity of historical versions. However, the sacred place was used for the religious rituals of the royalty of the Khmer Empire and the southern’s gate is calculated large enough so that real elephants could walk across it.
We visited this iconic place during the noon, so there were only some student and tourist groups already about to leave the facilities. In this sense, we recommend trying to make your visit at noon or in the late afternoon, as many organized tours are already leaving the Temple and you might have more calm to explore the ruins and feel the mysticism of the place with less people.
The Phimai Historical Park is open from 7:30 to 18:00 hours every day.
Price 100 Baht to tourists.
Price 20 baht to locals.
Students in uniform, monks and novices pay no entry.
We have information that there are numerous guest houses and accommodation options along the river. Many of them offer a view to the ruins and are very inexpensive. In addition, the Phimai municipality offers other attractions such as the Indian Banyan trees on the banks of the River with the largest specimen of this tree in Asia. Also you can find parks with giant fish ready to be fed and different places to taste the typical dishes of the region.
Additionally, if like us, you do not have a trip scheduled to Cambodia to see the famous Angkor Wat Temple, then this trip to see the Phimai ruins is an ideal choice!
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