Reveling in Ruins

Now Playing: “Far Away Place” -Xinobi

My friends are visiting us this weekend so we did some sightseeing at the park. We visited Wat Mahathat and Wat Ratchaburana. These ruins were the oldest things I’ve ever laid eyes on. Pictures simply don’t do it justice. It’s fascinating. Some areas are depleted and others are perfectly in tact. Some buddha statues are untouched and others are crumbling.

There are no tour guides, or at least we didn’t find or pay for anyone, but I did some research after the fact.

Wat Mahathat dates back to 14th century A.D. and is one of the most important temples in Ayutthaya Kingdom. Known as “the temple of the Great Relic,” Wat Mahathat once featured a tall prang (or spire) but now only the base remains. It enshrined Buddha relics and was the seat of the Supreme Patriarch of Buddhism. Wat Mahathat was set on fire when the Burmese invaded in 1767. Other structures within the walls are viharns (assembly halls), chedis (dome-shaped tower containing relics), and the remains of walls and columns.

Wat Mahathat is also the home of the famous Buddha head surrounded by tree roots. Beautiful! Such a popular photo opp..

Wat Ratchaburana, which translates to “the temple of Royal Restoration” was built in the 15th century by King Borommarachathirat II as a memorial to his two elder brothers. When King Intharacha I died, his two eldest sons fought each other to be the next King. As both died the King’s third son ascended the throne and built Wat Ratchaburana on the spot where his brothers were cremated as well as two chedis on the spots where the princes died. The temple was largely destroyed during the Burmese invasion.

We climbed up to the top of the temple and went down a very steep staircase to the shrine for relics. It was unexpectedly narrow and small but had beautiful walls! (Thanks Michelle and Kristen for the pics!)

We did our best to behave, but we had fun taking pictures around the area! Meet our new friend Josh, from Texas, who was passing through Ayutthaya and staying at our hostel.


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