Phimai Historical Park

issan travel guide Phimai Historical Park lies far off the beaten tourist track so that makes for an ideal day of absorbing the fascinating architecture of the Khmer. Built as an important regional center of the Khmer Empire, Phimai faces south toward Angkor.

The white sandstone sanctuary was built during the 16th Buddhist century and additions were made at the beginning of the following century during the reign of King Jayavoraman VII.

The largest stone sanctuary in Thailand measures 565 by 1,030 meters and is protected by a moat and flanked by the Moun and Chackarat rivers.

The central courtyard has 3 towers, or Prangs. The main tower is decorated with lintels and bas relief's showing scenes or episodes from Ramayana; the epic battle between Rama and Ravana, a demon with many heads and arms who had stolen Rama's wife.

The secondary towers are made of laterite and red sandstone. One has the sculpture of a seated King Jayavarman VII.

For a remarkable viewing of a computer reconstruction of the temple site at Phimai, see Richard M. Levy's award winning site.