Asia, a land of wonders - these are my thoughts, experiences and travel tips from SE Asia

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram วัดไชยวัฒนาราม

Updated flooding information as of October 2011

Ayutthaya along with Wat Chaiwatthanaram วัดไชยวัฒนาราม and surroundings are under water as heavy flooding covers many Thailand provinces. As of October 9th 2011, the highway police closed another section of Asia Highway, one of the main route to North of Thailand and Chai Nat after the water from Chao Phraya river started to flood the roads. Water is 40cm deep and more. 

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Ayutthaya is the old capital of Thailand. I check a bit on the city's history as I didn't knew a lot about it and it seems that city was founded around 1350. 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. (Wiki helped on knowledge)

Since we were not at that time (300-400) years ago, we can just imagine how this city was. Certainly it doesn't seem as impressive as they said it was but is a great place to see ancient temples which are a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Our direction was precise and the destination was Ayutthaya - Wat Chaiwatthanaram temple (วัดไชยวัฒนาราม)  which is one of the most famous temple and a tourist attraction. Directly from the gate I was surprised by the fact that I had to pay 5 times the price that a thai national would pay so I thought "what a great start" but besides this everything was great. 

Wat Chaiwatthanaram admission fee for foreigners (me) 50 BHT and thai nationals 10 BHT
The temple has almost 400 years old and the temple's name literally means the Temple of long reign and glorious era - it was designed in Khmer style which was popular in that time. Wat Chaiwatthanaram was a royal temple where the king and his successors performed religious ceremonies. Princes and princess were cremated here.

Temple view from the entry gate

After the total destruction of the old capital (Thai: กรุงเก่า - Krung Kao) by the Burmese in 1767, from which Wat Chai Watthanaram was not spared, the temple was deserted. Theft, sale of bricks from the ruins and the beheading of the Buddha statues were common. Only in 1987 did the Thai Department of Fine Arts start restoring the site. In 1992 it was opened to the public. (Thanks again to Wiki)

Ayutthaya temple ruins

Also don't forget to check the weather as there is a high possibility of flooding in this area especially during the rainy season, I would say September and October.

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