Tuesday, February 7, 2012

THAILAND… BEYOND AMAZING! (Wats in Ayutthaya) Part 3 of 5

Ayutthaya is 72 kilometers, 1 ½ - 2 hrs north of Bangkok. 400 years from 1350 AD, Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam and was home to more than 33 kings. The architecture of the ruins was a mix of Khmer, ancient Cambodian, and Sukhothai style. Many of the temples were burned and ruined in the Burmese invasion of 1767, still the ruins gave me an idea as to how great and magnificent Ayutthaya once was.

Featured in many travel magazines including Nat Geo, this buddha statue has endured time and the elements
Wat Mahathat was surreal. Where can one find a Buddha head entwined in the roots of a fig tree or relics of headless Buddha’s? Only in Ayuttaya.

Wat Lokayasuttharam is home to the great reclining Buddha with his head resting on a lotus, 42 meters long and 8 meters high.

This reclining Buddha is what is left of a once imposing temple
Souvenir/snack shops across the road selling trinkets, freshly cut lotus flowers and refreshing coconut juice in its shell. If you rent a bike, you can pedal your way to other neighboring Wats.

Wat Phra Ram is a complex of temples, ruins with some sightings of miniaturized offerings

Wat Phra Ram was a lovely park and my curiosity led me beyond the audience area of the elephant camp when I had the good fortune to see that elephant’s milk is with a tinge of blue. Yup, interesting factoid rarely witnessed. I met an equally curios and playful baby elephant and his mom kind enough to share the information. I never thought I would see elephants up close and personal much more kissed and embraced by one frisky fella’ which made my crazy adventure all the more bizarre.

Bang Pa-In Summer Palace
One of the prayer venues in Bang Pa-in
Bang Pa-In Summer Palace is without a doubt breath taking. Don’t be surprised to salivate in public when you see the vast illustrious site. A day tour would suffice but worth revisiting.

Bang Pa-in showcases Greek-inspired statues and Thai-homegrown architecture
The grandeur of its landscape and architecture has an intriguing history dating back to the 17th century. I noticed students of architecture and design having a field day sketching their hearts out and tourists in frenzy.

A local Thai art student sketching a tower in Bang Pa-in
There is so much yet to fill the senses, but if you think you are overloaded with the Wat-age indulge in a river cruise at Chao Phraya River.
A view from Wat Arun. Boats cruise along the Chao Phraya river.
Best to go when the sun is about to go down and see the warm colors that play around Wat Arun when the light hits the mosaics and the gold trimmings. In moments the vibrant colors turn to romantic silhouettes. I sat by the bay walk facing Wat Arun this time at night and it was alluring. I realized how totally different it was in the morning but magnificent all the same.

Exploring the Wats was a daunting expedition but to appreciate Thailand I consider it essential. Wats play a significant role in the different aspects of Thai society be it artistically, educationally, historically, culturally and spiritually.

1 comment:

  1. Great article on Ayutthaya. I'd like to go back to Thailand soon.


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