Thursday, 22 February 2024

Ancient Ruins of Ayutthaya

Thai name ซากปรักหักพังโบราณ อยุธยา

Attractions worth visiting in the Ayutthaya Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are many, such as Wat Mahathat, Wat Naphramane, Wat Lokayasutharam, Wat Phanan Choeng, Wat Mongkhol Bophit, Wat Phra Sisanphet, Wat Chai Watthanaram and Wat Rat Burana. All of them used to be significant temples in the old days. There are many ways to explore the glorious past of Ayutthaya--by foot, rental bicycles or long-tail boats (to enjoy a riverine perspective). To fully appreciate all the interesting places, at least one full day is recommended. Presented here is just some information of the temples located in the area.

Wat Mahathat

Wat Mahathat, or rather its ruins, built over 600 years ago. Constructed according to the ancient values that there should be great temples around the grand palace, this temple was the centre of Ayutthaya people's faith.

That is why it was completely burnt down by the Burmese invaders during their final assault of the capital. However, there is one Buddha image left--Phra Khanthararat. This green stone image is of the Khmer style (Bayon). Later, it was moved to Wat Naphramane by the command of King Rama II (1809-1824). In 1956, the Fine Arts Department discovered relics of the Buddha in the stupa within a seven-layer reliquary which also contained other precious items. At present they are kept in the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum.

And if you walk around the ruins, you will find the head of an ancient Buddha image embraced in the overground roots of a bo tree.

Thai name : วัดมหาธาตุ อยุธยา

Wat Naphramane is the only temple in Ayutthaya that is not destroyed because it used to be the headquarters of the Burmese invaders. The ordination hall has no windows like all temples erected in the Ayutthaya period. Instead, it has several small openings on the walls with carved stone bars for ventilation.

Thai name : วัดหน้าพระเมรุ อยุธยา

Wat Lokayasutharam where the largest reclining Buddha image (32m long, 8m high) in Ayutthaya, Phra Buddha Saiyat, is enshrined. At present, there is no vihara to shelter the image. The village elders said that in the past the vihara roof was made of tin. Consequently, it was struck by lightning twice. After that the local people agreed to leave the image outdoors.

Thai name : วัดโลกยสุทธาราม อยุธยา

Wat Phra Sisanphet

Wat Phra Sisanphet is the largest and most significant temple in the Royal Palace’s compound since it was used as the royal temple and palace for several Ayutthaya kings. The ashes of the three Ayutthaya kings were kept here in the three Ceylonese style pagodas which are a symbolic landmark of Ayutthaya.

Thai name : วัดพระศรีสรรเพชญ์ อยุธยา

Wat Phanan Choeng is a Mahayana temple situated to the Southeast of the Ayutthaya Muang Island. It is presumed to be built before the establishment of the Ayutthaya kingdom. The huge maravijaya* Buddha image (height 19 m./width 20.17 m) in the ordination hall, Luang Pho To (the big Buddha) or Sampokong, is greatly revered not only by the Thais and the Chinese-Thais but also by the Chinese from abroad. This is because most worshippers have found that their business and trading have become prosperous after paying homage to Luang Pho To.

*Maravijava (conquering mara) posture is a sitting position with legs crossed, the left hand on the lap and the right hand on the right knee with fingers pointing down to the ground.

Thai name : วัดพนัญเชิง อยุธยา

Wat Phra Sisanphet

Bangkok tour program code S-27

Bang Pa-in Palace, Wat Phra Sisanphet and other two famous temples

Duration : Full Day

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