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Nakhon Ratchasima, Phimai Historical Park, Phimai District, Korat.

Nakhon Ratchasima, Page 7a, Phimai Historical Park, Phimai District, Korat. Thailand. Nakhon Ratchasima, Page 7c, Phimai Historical Park, Phimai District, Korat, Thailand.

The Main Prang or pagoda is on an open area in a curved walkway. It is the centre of the site and is made entirely of white sandstone and is different from the porches and walls that are made primarily of red sandstone. This is because white sandstone is more durable than red sandstone. The pagoda is 28 metres high, has a square base, a portico and stairways and doors in all 4 directions.The pagoda consists of a base, outer walls, columns, and porches with beautiful designs. Of vital importance are the lintels that mostly recount the tale of Ramayana from Hinduism and tales of the Mahayana sect of Buddhism.

The lintels above the 4 doorways of the main pagodas inner chamber, the most important room of the pagoda, are all about Buddhism reflecting the Buddhist influence that eventually surpassed that of Hinduism. The carvings are of the Baphoun style and the Angkor Wat style leading to the belief that the main pagoda was built at the end of the 12th century.

Because of its location deep in the northeastern part of Thailand, commonly called Issan, which was once a territory of the Khmer ( modern day Cambodia ), Phimai’s architecture and cultural decorations are heavily influenced by that very same Khmer culture. Art and architecture shown on the temple itself shows great evidence of the ancient Khmer civilization. Similar in its look and design to Angkor Wat, it also has the same function for worshiping the gods in the Hindu religion.

When the tourists enter the area of Phimai from the old town on the south, they have to cross a river about one kilometre to the south and enter an ancient laterite landing stage which archaeologists believe used to be the bathing place for the heroine in local myths. The north gate is the city main gate, which has recently been reconstructed by the Royal Fine Art Department. Its size is enormous; it is said that the size is big enough for a royal elephant to enter. The Royal Fine Art Department has also built an inner gallery which shows ancient Buddhist inscriptions and small sculptures as well as pieces of wrecked architecture. The rest of Phimai remains the same only with a little restoration by the Royal Art Department.