Friday, April 15, 2011

Wat Maha That - Ayutthaya




Ayutthaya (full name Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya; also spelled "Ayudhya") city is the capital of Ayutthaya province in Thailand. The city was founded in 1350 by King U Thong, who went there to escape a smallpox outbreak in Lop Buri and proclaimed it the capital of his kingdom, often referred to as the Ayutthaya kingdom or Siam.  It is said that Ayutthaya by the year 1600 CE had a population of about 300,000, with the population perhaps reaching 1,000,000 around 1700 CE, making it one of the world's largest cities at that time and It used to be one of the richest cities in Asia by the 1600s exporting rice, animal skins, ivory, etc.
In 1767 the city was destroyed by the Burmese army, resulting in the collapse of the kingdom. The ruins of the old city now form the Ayutthaya historical park, which is recognized internationally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was refounded a few kilometers to the east.
The city became Thailand's capital in the mid-14th century and remained the capital until the late 18th century. The Ayutthaya period is looked on by many as the time when much of what is now thought of as "Thai style" was developed. In temples, this is when you see a marked transition from the Khmer style "prangs" to the bell shaped "chedi." While Sukothai further north is seen as the birth of the Thai kingdom, Ayutthaya is seen today as its high point. Around Ayutthaya are signs of the Japanese, French, Dutch and Portuguese traders that came to the Thai court.
Travelling from Bangkok to Ayutthaya will take not more than one hour. Now with the toll way and the divided highway it is very convenient to visit this ancient old capital of Thailand.
In order to promote the tourism and travel to upcountry on this holiday, our trip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya by  state railway was free of charge!!!!!

Wat Maha That is located to the east of the grand palace.  It is the royal temple and most scared in Ayutthaya during  tht glorious time.  Buddha relics were enshrined in the Mahathat Chedi (the principal  pagoda).  This monastery was once the residence of the Supreme Patriach.  Ayutthaya chronicle said Maahathat Chei was starting to be built in the reign of Phra Borom Rajathirat I (Khun Luang Pha-Ngua) in 1374 and completed in the reign of King Ramesuan.  In the reign of King Song Tham the principal pagoda collapsed through the foundation but it was restored later in the reign of King Prasat Thong.  This monastery was destroyhed and had been burnt in the last war between Ayuttya and Burma in AD. 1767. 
Wat Mahathat is an impressive temple ruin originally constructed to house Buddha relics that mysteriously appeared to an early Ayutthayan king.  The temple is famed for Buddha images that have tree roots grown around them to startling effect.


























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