Thursday, April 18, 2024

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The Ayutthaya Temples

Ayutthaya was the capital of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya province of Thailand (both have actually the same name). For 400 years, Ayutthaya was the capital of Thai tribes, now it is still among the most visited cities. Looking at its beautiful palaces and temples, the travelers from the West had the impression that they saw in front of their eyes the most captivating picture ever. For most of us, Thai temples seem to have numerous sizes and shapes, so we may find it really amazing that they actually have the same type of elements. Also these temples can be considered places of worship.

Ayutthaya Temples are located 60 miles north of Bangkok, so you will be able to finish your visit by the end of the day if you are anywhere near the capital of Thailand.

The most beautiful and famous temple in Ayutthaya is Wat Phra Si SanPhet. The building has three large 'chedis (monuments similar to a stupa) and many smaller ones, being called, in a respectful manner, The Royal Temple. At the impressive entry into Wat Phra Si SanPhet, you can observe these three huge graves, containing the remains of the kings. In the past, in the midst of the religious complex, a 16-meter high statue of Buddha overlaid with gold was rising, but unfortunately it was eventually stolen and melted. The King Rama I, who ascended the throne in 1782, carried the remnants of the work of art destroyed by the Burmese in Bangkok. Inside the Royal Palace complex, only the statues pedestal remained. The Wang Luang Palace, built in 1350 at the King U Thongs orders, became the core of the future capital of Siam. Only its foundation has survived until today. At the impressive entry into Wat Phra Si SanPhet, you can observe three huge graves, containing the remains of the kings.

Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit temple, located near the ruins of Wat Phra Si Sanphet temple, differs from it especially because of the way it was preserved. The temple is dating from the fifteenth century and in 1767 it was destroyed and then rebuilt until the mid-twentieth century. Anyway, here it can be found one of the largest statues of Buddha. It boasts a beautiful bronze color, it is about 15m high and it is at least 600 years old. Currently, the temples spaces are used by the royal family as a place for the funeral processions.

Wat Suwan Dararam temple was built in 1700 and it was extended during the Chakri dynasty. It was also decorated with numerous paintings. Particularly impressive is a room called bot, imagined as a vessel that leads the Buddhists way to salvation. This temple remains the only one still inhabited by monks.

Prasat Sdok Kok Thom temple, dating from the 10th century, was originally used for Hindu ceremonies. It consists of water fountains and some buildings that were made for religious festivals. At the present, there are ongoing extensive, large-scale excavations.

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