Phimai Historical Park

Phimai Historical Park

Phimai Historical Park

Phimai Historical Park is the largest Khmer sanctuary in Thailand located in the middle of Phimai about 60 kilometers from Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat). It was presumably constructed to be a Mahayana Buddhist religious site during the 16th – 17th Buddhist century in the reign of Khmer's King Suryavarman I in Ba Phuon style similar to Phanom Wan Sanctuary and Phanom Rung Sanctuary. However, this sanctuary differs from the two sites in which it is situated toward the south, assumed to be facing Mueang Phra Nakhon, the center of the ancient Khmer Kingdom (currently Cambodia). Khmer settlements were generally away from rivers as they had their own reserving ponds called Barai. In spite of that, Phimai is located on the bank of Moon River due to the presumption of prior settlement from Dvarvati artifacts. The outstanding structural characteristic is the main Prang or pagoda which is Thailand's grandest pagoda in stone sanctuaries with 28 meters high. It is made entirely of white sandstone, which is rare sandstone found only in important places, and is different from the porches (Gopura) and walls that are made primarily of red sandstone.

A major annual festival at Phimai Historical Park

  • Phimai Festival is held annually in November at Phimai Historical Park, Chakaraj Waterway, and other tourist attractions in Phimai. The highlight of the festival is Phimai Light & Sound at Phimai Historical Park called “Niramit Karma over Moon River” which is the show presenting the story from archeological documents, history and inscription about belief and civilization in the lower-northeast. With the charming performance and dazzling light & sound technique, tourists will be impressed with numbers of scenes such as the construction and maintenance of the sanctuary, god worship, Pi Fah Dance, Chiang Khong Dance, ancient boxing, Ramayana Mask Drama – Indrajit Shooting Nagabas Arrow Episode, Phimai Puri Dance, Chaiyavarman VII Procession, celebrating fireworks, etc.

Other tourist attractions in Phimai

  1. Phimai National Museum, located by Ta Songkran Bridge about 300 meters before reaching Phimai Historical Park, is the place where archeological evidences are collected and the exhibition on civilization of northeastern culture is displayed including ancient artifacts discovered in the lower-northeast. The prehistoric artifacts displayed here are ancient potteries, skeletons, tools, bronze and stone ornaments. The historic artifacts are Dvarvati boundary markers, Khmer architectural components (lintels, gables, columns, door) and sculpted icons (Buddha image, God/Deity image).
  2. Sai Ngam Park, located in the area of Phimai Dam on the bank of Moon River, is covered with numerous banyan trees creating shady and pleasant atmosphere. To go to Phimai Dam, you can take the road at the junction before Ta Songkran Bridge for about 2 kilometers.