Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sights to See: Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand


Ayutthaya Historical Park  Ayutthaya--pronounced “a-you-tat-ya”--was named after the city of Ayodhya in India, the birthplace of Rama.  Once the capital of Siam, it was one of the world's largest and most sophisticated cities before being ransacked in 1756 by the Burmese. Today it a historical treasure and UNESCO World Heritage Site.  More than 300 historic temples dot the city and encircling rivers.

Wat Rajburana  Daily 8:30am-5pm.  50 Baht/US$1.39.  This beautiful stupa dates to 1424, when King Boromaraja II built it to hold the ashes of his elder brothers, who killed each other in a battle for the throne.
Wat Rajburana stupa at Ayutthaya Historical Park in Thailand


Wat Rajburana stupa at Ayutthaya Historical Park in Thailand

damaged Buddha statue at Wat Rajburana at Ayutthaya Historical Park in Thailand


Wat Phra Mahathat (Temple of the Great Relics)  Museum 8am-4:30pm.  To enter courtyard of giant chedi, 30 Baht/US$0.83; museum, 20 Baht/US$0.55.  Located almost right in the center of the park, this important temple is believed to date from the 14th century.   Don’t miss the Strangled Buddha--a Buddha statue head embraced by the roots of a banyan (bodhi, pho) tree.  In addition to holding Buddha's enshrined relics, this temple was also the residence of the leader of the Thai Buddhist monks. 
Wat Phra Mahathat at Ayutthaya Historical Park in Thailand

Buddha statue at Wat Phra Mahathat at Ayutthaya Historical Park in Thailand

Strangled Buddha at Wat Phra Mahathat at Ayutthaya Historical Park in Thailand


Wat Phra Sri Sanphet  Ayutthaya’s most important site was established as a center for important religious rituals and ceremonies.  It served as a model for the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok.  Three Sri Lankan-style chedis built in the 15th century hold the ashes of three Ayutthaya kings.  In 1767, invading Burmese attempted melting the gold off a Buddha statue and started a fire that destroyed both the statue and the temple.  The Buddha seen today is a replica.  A large covered market holds stalls selling souvenirs and street food.
Wat Phra Sri Sanphet at Ayutthaya Historical Park in Thailand

Golden Buddha at Wat Phra Sri Sanphet at Ayutthaya Historical Park in Thailand

worshippers at Wat Phra Sri Sanphet at Ayutthaya Historical Park in Thailand

chedis at Wat Phra Sri Sanphet at Ayutthaya Historical Park in Thailand




Wat Chaiwatthanaram  Daily 7:30am-6pm.  50 Baht/US$1.39.  Located scenically on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, this large, peaceful compound is southwest of the old city and can be reached by road or boat.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Modeled on Angor Wat, it has a central high prang (tower), four smaller prangs, and eight chedi-shaped chapels.  Most of the 120 Buddha statues are, unfortunately, missing their heads through looting. 
Wat Chaiwatthanaram at Ayutthaya Historical Park in Thailand

Buddha statues at Wat Chaiwatthanaram at Ayutthaya Historical Park in Thailand


More things to see and do in Thailand.

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.  

images and video ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

8 comments:

  1. Wow! So much of this is unlike anything we have ever seen before.

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  2. We've never made it there despite several trips to Thailand. Shame on us, I am reminded when I look at your post! Beautiful tour you gave us~

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  3. To paraphrase, "Your pictures are worth several thousand words!" Such an amazing area filled with ancient customs and art. You must have felt like you were walking through an area of living history. Hope to visit this area in our travels someday.

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  4. Ayutthaya looks amazing—and great photos. Unfortunately we ran out of time in the Bangkok area but it certainly looks worth visiting next time.

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  5. Been to Thailand a few times but never here! So many World Heritage Sites in one place! Amazing!

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  6. Ayutthaya Historical Park looks like a wonderful place to visit. I wonder how many of the 300 temples someone could see in a day? :-)

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  7. I had the opportunity to see Ayutthaya as part of my 2007 trip to Thailand. Absolutely loved it -- what a remarkable place -- historically and architecturally! The surreal "strangled Buddha" in the roots was probably my favorite.

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