"Founded around 1350, Ayutthaya became the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai. Throughout the centuries, the ideal location between China, India and the Malay Archipelago made Ayutthaya the trading capital of Asia and even the world. By 1700 Ayutthaya had become the largest city in the world with a total of 1 million inhabitants. Many international merchants set sail for Ayutthaya, from diverse regions as the Arab world, China, India, Japan, Portugal, the Netherlands and France. Merchants from Europe proclaimed Ayutthaya as the finest city they had ever seen. Dutch and French maps of the city show grandeur with gold-laden palaces, large ceremonies and a huge float of trading vessels from all over the world. All this came to a quick end when the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya in 1767 and almost completely burnt the city down to the ground.
Today, only a few remains might give a glimpse of the impressive city that Ayutthaya must have been. The city's remains are characterized by the prang (reliquary towers) and big monasteries. Most of the remains are temples and palaces, as those were the only buildings made of stone at that time. The great cultural value of Ayutthaya's ruins were officially recognized in 1991, when the Historic City became an UNESCO World Heritage Site." - Mostly taken from wikitravel
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Wat Mahathat is located to the east of the grand palace. It is the royal temple and most scared in Ayutthaya during glorious time. Buddha relics were enshrined in the Mahathat Chedi(the principal pagoda).
This monestery was once the residence of the Supreme Patriarch. The royal chronicle says that it was built in the reign of King Boroma-Rachathirat I in 1374 and completed in the reign of King Ramesuan. The main prang where the relic of the Lord Buddha was kept and found is originally 50 metres high.
When King Songtham (1610-1628 A.D.) was in power the main prang (Khmer-style tower) collapsed. The restoration work on the prang was probably completed in the reign of King Prasatthong (1630-1655 A.D.) During the restoration the height of the prang was considerably increased.
Wat Mahathat was a royal monastery and served as the seat of the Sangaraja. the head of the Buddhist monks of the Kamavasi Sect, since the time of the Mahathera Thammakanlayan, who was a contemporary of King Borommarachthriat I, and who built the wat.
Wat Mahathat used to house an unusual Buddha image made of green stone in the form of Buddha seated on a throne. In the Rattanakosin Period King Rama III had the image moved to Wat Naphrameru.
At present only the base can be seen as the top was broken down in 1911 in the reign of King Rama VI.
A 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. There is no clear historical evidence of this Lord Buddha's head, but It is assumed that when Ayutthaya was defeated by Burmese army in B.E. 2310, the Mahathat temple was set on fire and entirely destroyed and as its result most of the images and parts fell to the ground. The temple was deserted for more than a hundred years and many trees had grown at the spot covering the head or in B.E. 2500 when the Department of Fine Art undertook restoration might have gathered all the remains but could not complete. Second assumption is a thief might have tried to steal but due its weight could not carry it across the wall or someone had come to the scene and the thief left it there until the tree covered it as we see at present.
In 1958 A.D. the Fine Arts Department built a stairway so that one could go down into the crypt and look at the mural paintings which were also found there. Since the Buddha images and votive tablets discovere in the crypt were very numerous, the ministers of the government approved giving some of them to people who had contributed to the building of the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum, much of the collection in which was found at Wat Ratchabutrana.
This temple stands out for having a large prang recently restored to its original condition, clearly visible if you come in from the east. The vault of Wat Ratchaburana is a rich source of information. It became known to the public when looters broke into the vault in 1957. It was a matter of days before the police caught the looters and were able to confiscate some treasures.
Staff of the Thai Fine Arts Department conducted a further excavation and discovered that there were the vault had three stories. Confiscated artifacts amounted to 2,000 items. Among them were more than 100,000 votive tablets and more than 100 kilograms of gold jewelry.
Wat Chai Watthanaram
This temple was also built to commemorate the victory over the Khmer. This is why it was built in Khmer architecture style. The temple layout was clearly planned to symbolize Buddhist cosmology. It is believed that the universe core was a gigantic mountain known as Mount Meru. The mountain is surrounded by concentric rings of seven cosmic oceans and seven mountains. At the four corners of the universe are the four continents where human beings live.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram was a royal monastery. It was a wat where the king and his descendants would perform religious rites: thus renovation would have been continuous. It was also used as a cremation site for princes, princesses, and other members of the royal family. When Prince Thammathibet died, for instance, King Borommakot decreed that an area in the Wat be used as the site for his cremation.
In 1767 A.D., Ayutthaya, the capital of Thailand, was besieged by Burmese invaders and the Wat became an army camp. After the fall of Ayutthaya, Wat Chai Watthanaram was abandoned.
Wat Jao Prab
Street Food - Highlights of my Palette"
Street Food - cheap, sometimes processed, sometimes fresh, and sometimes a surprise. I love trying the different street foods! From traditional pad thai, to fried scorpions, fish balls, milk roti, and bubble teas, the assortment is astonishing. I have problems deciding between the options and end up with more food than I bargained for. Look at all these choices! And this barely scratches the surface!