Thailand : Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya - Wat Mahathat

21st February 2011. Written by Xin Li.
Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya
is probably one of the better known historical sites in Thailand and one of more touristy ones due to its close proximity to Bangkok which makes a day trip to this city a common thing to do.


Ayutthaya - Wat Mahathat

The city’s historical core is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, which depends on how you view it, could be a curse and blessing. The city was the bastion of the Ayutthaya Kingdom that lasted for about four centuries since the 14th century until it was conquered and sacked by the Burmese in 1767 marking the fall of the kingdom that once ruled most of Southeast Asia.


Ayutthaya - Wat Mahathat

The name, “Ayutthaya” which means “the invincible city” was derived from the “Ayothaya” which refers to the capital of King Rama in the epic, Ramayana.


Ayutthaya - Wat Mahathat

At its peak, the city possess no less than 600 major monuments and temples and the Ayutthaya period is a significant chapter in Thai architecture as Ayutthayan architects borrowed forms from the Khmers and Sri Lanka and fused it together to form a unique Siamese style.


Ayutthaya - Wat Mahathat

Our brief stop in Ayutthaya brought us to Wat Mahathat (or Wat ma-ha-thaaat/ 50 THB), a Khmer-influenced temple constructed in 1374 by King Boromaracha I.


Ayutthaya - Wat Mahathat

It was a massive temple and home to the iconic sight of a Buddha Head statue growing out of a tree trunk.


Ayutthaya - Wat Mahathat



Ayutthaya - Wat Mahathat



Ayutthaya - Wat Mahathat



Ayutthaya - Wat Mahathat



Ayutthaya - Wat Mahathat



Ayutthaya - Wat Mahathat

Although in ruins, the huge central phrang, its many stupas as well as remaining foundations bore testimonial to the monuments’ grand scale when it was still intact.


Ayutthaya - Wat Ratchaburana

Next to the Wat Mahathat was Wat Ratchaburana (50 THB), a temple built to honor two brothers of King Boromaracha II in 1424 after they killed each other in a fight for the throne.


Ayutthaya - Wat Ratchaburana

Hidden in this temple is the tiny chamber below the central prang decorated with painted murals that depicted the life of Buddha. The style hints at possible Chinese influence.


Ayutthaya - Wat Ratchaburana

Ayutthaya has a lot more attractions, we barely scratched the surface of this ancient city, and it is recommended that you spend at least a night to explore the city as well as its outskirts.


Ayutthaya - Wat Mahathat


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