26 October 2005

memories of thailand #1: ayutthaya

one of my favorite places in thailand is the ancient capital city of ayutthaya.

located some 80 kms from the present day capital, bangkok, ayutthaya recalls the glorious days of the thai kingdom. it has an air of dignity and glory, although all that is left today are mainly ruins of temples and palaces.

sacked my an invading burmese army after a long siege, when ayutthaya was recaptured, it was too badly destroyed for rebuilding, and the thai king taksin moved the capital down to thonburi, across the river from present day bangkok.

the king after king taksin, king rama I, moved the capital to bangkok.

row 1, l-r (1 & 2) wat yai chai mongkon built to commemorate a victory over burma, (3-5) wat phra si sanphet the former royal temple. the chedis here are duplicated in the present day grand palace's wat phra keow.

row 2, l-r (1) wat phra si sanphet (2-4) wat mahathat the largest ruins visited, home to the famous buddha head in the bodhi tree root, possibly the most photographed antique in thailand (5) wat chai wattanaram an angkor styled temple, a curiousity in an area filled with ayutthaya / sukhothai styled temples, simply the best of the historical ruins in terms of atmosphere

row 3, l-r (1-3) bang pa in palace a former summer retreat favored by the late king rama v, a complex of palaces and buildings of various types, one reason why i hope to be a royal family member ... (4) wat yai chai mongkon's famous reclining buddha (5) king naresuan monument dedicated to he who liberated ayutthaya by winning a cock fight (no kidding)

row 4, l-r (1) elephant ride, ayutthaya (2) wat na pramane here's the oldest buddha statue in thailand in a working temple, the 1600 years old buddha was brought in from sri langka (3 & 5) wat chai wattanaram (4) the central chedi (phukao thong) a thai chedi built on a burmese base

row 5, l-r (1) sai mai, the sweet snack made of flour pancakes (like roti biasa) with sweet, colored candy, an ayutthaya must taste (2) the traditional thai house converted into a restaurant that all 3 of my different hosts coincidentally took me to for lunch in ayutthaya ... it must be really good (3) wat panan cheong a giant buddha in a 800 years old temple (4) more elephant rides (5) tuks tuks in ayutthaya are very different from the ones in bangkok
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