Day 2: Ayutthaya, Thailand. A UNESCO World Heritage.

Our second day in Thailand is another Temple Exploration but this time, the ruins of Ayutthaya. But before we go to the ruins, need to have our breakfast first. Make sure to bring sunblock and lots of water.

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Ayutthaya, Anachak Ayutthaya, also Ayudhya,  was a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1351 to 1767. According to the most widely accepted version of its origin, the Siamese state based at Ayutthayain the valley of the Chao Phraya River  rose from the earlier, nearby kingdoms of Lavo (at that time still under the Khmer control) and Suphannaphoom (Suvarnabhumi). One source says that, in the mid-fourteenth century, due to the threat of an epidemic, King U Thong (we giggles whenever the guide says his name) moved his court south into the rich floodplain of the Chao Phraya on an island surrounded by rivers, which was the former seaport city of Ayothaya, or Ayothaya Si Raam Thep Nakhon, the Angelic City of Sri Rama. The new city was known as Ayothaya, or Krung Thep Dvaravadi Si Ayothaya. Later it became widely known as Ayutthaya, the Invincible City.

Starting in the middle of 16th century, the kingdom came under repeated attacks by the Toungoo Dynasty of Burma. The Burmese began the hostilities with an invasionin 1548 but failed. The second Burmese invasion led by King Bayinnaung forced King Maha Chakkraphat to surrender in 1564. The royal family was taken to Pegu, with the king’s eldest son Mahinthrathirat installed as the vassal king. In 1568, Mahinthrathirat revolted when his father managed to return back from Pegu as a monk. The ensuing third invasion captured Ayutthaya in 1569, and Bayinnaung made Maha Thammarachathiratvassal king. (source: wikipedia)

ImageImageImageWAT MAHA THATA large temple that was quite thoroughly ransacked by the Burmese. Several leaning prangs of Ayutthaya are still feebly defying gravity though, and the rows of headless Buddhas are atmospheric. This is also where you can spot the famous tree that has grown around a Buddha head. 

ImageImageImageWAT LOKAYASUTHA. Situated in the west of Ayuthaya and next to Wat Worachettharam in the south. The monastery is aligned toward an east/west axis. There are three viharas lined up in front of a Principle Stupa (Prang). At the back of the Principle Stupa are Ubosot and Viharas of the Reclining Buddha. In 1954, the Reclining Buddha was restored by coating the whole sculpture and changing the Buddha’s head to a regal attire style.

ImageImageImageWAT WORA CHET THA RAM. This Temple is behind the royal palace inside the city wall to the west. The temple was built by King Eakathosarot circa in A.D. 1593 the year King Naresuan the Great died while leading an army to attack King Tong-U in Burma. In honour of his elder brother, King Eakathosarot built a mighty crematorium here and some 10,000 monks were invited to the royal cremation. The main ancient shrine of the temple is a large brick and mortar Sukhothai-st le ball shaped stupa. Inside the temple wall there are many buildings used for religious ceremony.

ImageImageImageWAT PHU KHAO THONG. (About 3 km north of town, west off the Ang Thong Rd).Impressive and huge white, and slightly wonky, chedi set in a big field. You can climb to the top for extensive views over the countryside surrounding Ayutthaya, although the modern town and power lines obscure much of the historic city on the horizon. The actual nearby temple is still working and has small grounds with a smiling fat buddha image set in the ruins of a small viharn. You will see the ‘Monument of King Naresuan the Great’ on the way. This is the steepest temple we’ve been. Be very careful. 

ImageImageWAT PHRASISANPETH IThe largest temple in Ayutthaya, known for its distinctive row of restored chedis (Thai-style stupas) found on many images of the city. Housed within the grounds of the former royal palace, the temple was used only for royal religious ceremonies. It once housed a 16 m high Buddha covered with 340 kg of gold, but the Burmese set fire to the statue to melt the gold and destroyed the temple in the process. The royal palace can also be accessed from the same entrance at Wat Phra Si Sanphet, but it only has a few free standing buildings remaining. 50 baht.

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04/13/2014

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