Category Archives: Ayutthaya

Heavenly Light

Wehat Chamrun is a Chinese-style two-story mansion at Bang Pa In Palace that was built by the equivalent of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and presented to King Chulalongkorn in 1889. Prince Ookhtomsky recorded that,

” It is really a palace of romance, with ornamented tiled floors, massive ebony furniture, gold, silver, and porcelain freely used for decorative purposes, and delicate fretwork on the columns and on the windows. Evidently we have before us the principal sight of Bang Pa-In. The Emperor of China himself can scarcely have a palace much finer than this”

The ground floor contains a Chinese-style throne; the upper story houses an altar enshrining the name plates of King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn with their respective queens. This Chinese-style mansion was the favourite residence of King Vajiravudh (1910-1925) when he visited Bang Pa-In Palace. [1]

Unfortunately no photos are allowed inside the second story where many fine decorations, exotic sculptures and old Chinese furnishings reside.

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[1] Encyclopedia Thai – Phra Thinang Wehat Chamrun – http://www.encyclopediathai.org/sunthai/center/ayut/bagin13.htm Accessed 19 Sept 2015

Some Silly Sages

A merrily painted lookalike lighthouse tends to bring out the best of us 🙂

Bang Pa In Royal Palace

Approximately 60kms north of Bangkok, in the province of Ayutthaya, lies Bang Pa In Palace (Thai: พระราชวังบางปะอิน) – the summer palace of the King and Queen of Thailand. The original Palace was built by King Prasat Thong of Ayutthaya early in the 17th century however it was left abandoned for nearly a century after the Burmese invaded and destroyed Ayutthaya in 1767.

Part of the palace was rebuilt in the 1850s by King Mongkut (Rama IV) however most of the buildings today date from the late 19th century. The palace sits beside the Chao Phraya river ans is open to the public most days.

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Bibliography

Wikipdeia – Bang Pa-In Royal Palace – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bang_Pa-In_Royal_Palace Accessed 10 Oct 2015

Reknown Travel – Bang Pa-In Summer Palace – https://www.renown-travel.com/palaces/bang-pa-in.html Accessed 10 Oct 2015

Wish You Were Here – Ayutthaya – https://wywhblog.com/2015/09/20/ayutthaya/ Accessed 10 Oct 2015

Ayutthaya

One of the highlights of our trip to Bangkok was a visit to the Ayutthaya historical park.  It was once one of the largest cities in the world.  The ruins still beautiful.  

History

Ayutthaya city (full name Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Thai: พระนครศรีอยุธยา) is the capital of Ayutthaya province in Thailand.  Located in the valley of the Chao Phraya River, 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.

Ayutthaya historical site map

Ayutthaya became the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. It is estimated that by 1700 CE Ayutthaya had a population of around one million, making it one of the world’s largest cities at that time, when it was sometimes known as the “Venice of the East”.

In 1767, the city was destroyed by the Burmese army, resulting in the collapse of the kingdom. The ruins of the old city are preserved in the Ayutthaya historical park, which is recognised internationally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins, characterised by the prang (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries, give an idea of the city’s past splendour. Modern Ayutthaya was refounded a few kilometres to the east. [1]

The Grand Hall (Wihan Luang), near where these pictures were taken, is now an empty space.  It used to house a 16 meter high golden standing Buddha image.  Named ‘Phra SisanPhet’ this Buddha image was burnt by the Burmese in order to take away the gold.  All that remains is the bronze core.  Nowadays Phra Sisanphet is placed at Chedi Sanphetdayan in Wat Phrachetuphon Bangkok.

IMG_3856 copy

Ayutthaya IMG_3867 copy

When the Burmese invaded in 1767 they destroyed the site and decapitated most of the Buddhas (see the Buddhas surrounding the main statue and also below).

Ayutthaya ruins

Centuries later, the Buddah Tree with the head of a Buddah grown into the roots of a Bodhi tree is one of the iconic images of Thailand today.

References

[1] Wikipdeia – Ayutthaya Kingdom – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayutthaya_Kingdom  Accessed 19 Sept 2015

[2] Wikipedia – Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phra_Nakhon_Si_Ayutthaya_(city).  Accessed 9 August 2015

Buddha Tree

The Buddha Tree at Ayutthaya.

The Buddha Tree grows amongst the ruins of Wat Mahathat and is one of the most iconic images of Thailand. The head was once part of a sandstone Buddha image occupying the Wat in Ayutthaya, which was the capital of Thailand (then called Siam) at the time.

In 1767 the invading Burmese army destroyed the city and lopped the heads off many of the Buddha statues. This particular head gradually became trapped in the roots of the Bodhi tree.

From the inscription:

“The stone head has rather flat and wide facial structure with thick eyebrows and big eye lids, straight wide lip, and discernible lip edge, reflecting the art of Middle Ayutthaya Period, presumably around the mid of 1600s.”

Bodhi BuddhaBuddha Tree