In the small town of Phimai, on the banks of the Mun River, lies one of Thailand’s most extensively restored Khmer temple complexes. There is no definitive date for the construction of this temple, but the central sanctuary is likely to have been completed during the reign of Suryavarman I (1001–49). Prasat Hin Phimai lies on what was once a direct route to the Khmer capital at Angkor and, unusually, is oriented in a southeasterly direction to face that city. Originally a Brahmanic shrine dedicated to Shiva, Prasat Hin Phimai was rededicated as a Mahayana Buddhist temple at the end of the 12th century. Its famous lintels and pediments depict scenes from the Ramayana and, unique among Khmer temples, Buddhist themes. Restoration of the site was carried out by the Fine Arts Department in 1964–9
The word prasat, which is used to refer to the central sanctuary, also describes the temple complex as a whole.