A fabulous UNESCO World Heritage site
In 2019, my girlfriend and I visited her parents in Korat Province. We flew to Bangkok and then drove to Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of the Thai Kingdom. I had heard about friends experiences in Ayutthaya so had been anticipating visiting. As we entered the city, the number of ancient temples I observed created a ‘wow moment’. Yet, the best was still to come at the historical park. For instance, viharns, chedis and forts dating back thousands of years. Hence, the site is of great significance to Thailand.
Ayutthaya – a brief history
Founded around 1350, Ayutthaya became the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai. An invasion by the Burmese in 1765 caused destruction in the entire city. Ayutthaya was later assigned UNESCO World Heritage status as a historical park in 1991.
Ayutthaya – Notable Temples
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Wat Phra Si Sanphet, situated inside the original Royal Palace, was the first temple we explored. I discovered that the temple previously contained a 16 metre high Buddha image covered in 343kg of Gold. After the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767, many of the buildings were demolished. We saw the three remaining chedis and a model of how Wat Phra Si Sanphet may have looked.
Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit
Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit houses a bronze Buddha image of Phra Mongkhon Bophit, one of the largest in Thailand. I learned about the damage caused to the Viharn (Sermon hall) and the image. However, repair work started in 1920 and finished in 1957.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon is a major landmark, notable for a magnificent Chedi. Before we visited, I was informed that a large Reclining Buddha image is a focal point. We entered the remains of the Viharn, called Phra Phuttha Saiyat, where the Buddha lies. Consequently, we affixed pieces of gold leaf to the image, a Buddhist tradition.