My school organized a trip for all the exchange students to see the old capital of Thailand – Ayutthaya. (A-you-tea-uh) It is a free attraction and amazing, double whammy!
Ayutthaya means “The invincible city” – it is because the city is built with a city surrounding it making it difficult for attack. It is 2 hours by bus from Bangkok. We had a tour guide who I thought was great, he was quite chatty but very informative, I learned a lot about the whole area we were driving through and tons of details on all the temples and ancient Thailand.
Starting in 1350 and lasting for 400 years; Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam (now known as Thailand). The capital saw 33 kings during the 400 years. Ayutthaya was both wealthy and powerful and attracted merchants from as far as Europe and across the Far East. Ayutthaya was so powerful that it conquered Angkor in Cambodia. In the 17th century, the capital held one million inhabitants – that is TWICE the population of London during the same period. In 1767 the Burmese invaded and the entire city was almost entirely destroyed. The capital was moved and established in Bangkok, Thailand.
Because Ayutthaya is a sacred temple, the buddha figures are dressed in yellow robes, while the surrounding area is scattered with flower petals. Thais burn incense sticks at the feet of Buddhas. The site is effectively an island; encircled by three rivers.
It is the only one with its head still attached. The people removed all of the heads of the Buddahs because they are made out of incredibly heavy rock, and they were scared the Buddahs would break, somebody would attack and deface them, and most recently being stolen by art thieves. The entire temple complex is scattered with headless buddha bodies.
At Wat Phra Mahathat, this Buddha head is caught in the roots of a banyan tree. It is made of stone and over the years the tree had grown around it. It reminds me of Pocahontas a little bit. The stone buddahs all have one of three facial shaps. Big Nose, Big Lips, long ears. Big Nose, small lips, Long Ears. Or Big nose, small lips, short ears. The nose is always the most prominant part of the Buddha.
This is Phra Thinang Wehart Chamrun. It is located in the Bang Pa-in Palace on the way to Ayutthaya City. It means Royal Residence of Heavenly Light. It was the residence of King Chulalongkorn in 1889. It is made of beautiful gold and designed Chinese-style by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.