Phimai - Jim Wageman

Prasat Hin Phimai is located near the banks of the Mun River in lower Isaan, some 35 miles northeast of today’s Nakhon Ratchasima. Built in the late 11th or early 12th century, it was likely used as a royal temple by the king, Jayavarman VI, a Mahayana Buddhist. Phimai is the most significant Khmer sanctuary in Thailand, predating famed Angkor Wat in Cambodia and among the largest of all Khmer temples. Part of its significance lies in the fact that it was not built as a Hindu temple. Though Phimai basically followed the traditional Khmer/Hindu temple layout and was profusely adorned on its exterior surfaces with Hindu deities and scenes from the Ramayana, the iconography on interior carved lintels and elsewhere suggests that it was in fact created as a Buddhist temple. The complex was restored in the late 12th to early 13th century by Jayavarman VII, who, like Jayavarman VI , was a devout Mahayana Buddhist.