The Ayutthaya Kingdom was the ancient capital of Bangkok, it has incredible architecture from the 1351 to the 1767, most building still standing now in 2013! The history behind this kingdom is very rich, is what made Bangkok what it is today.
Bang Pa-In Palace also known as the Summer Palace, is located in the King Ayutthaya Kingdom. Prasat Thong originally constructed the complex in 1632, and though it lay empty and overgrown throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries, King Mongkut began to restore the site in the mid-19th century. Most of the present buildings were constructed between 1872 and 1889 by King Chulalongkorn.
Ho Hem Monthian Thewarat (Golden Palace of The God King).
The Sentinel house, for visiting guests
In the middle of the lake is Phra Thinang (Royal Residence)Aisawan Thiphya-Art (The Divine Seat of Personal Freedom). The Thai-style pavilion with four porches and a spired roof was built by King Chulalongkorn in the middle of an outer pond in 1876. King Chulalongkorn named this building Aisawan Thiphya-Art after King Prasat Tong’s original pavilion.
There were a heap of “snake-head fish” and huge turtles. There were lots of tourists and locals feeding them.
Built in 1877 of wood in the style of a two-storey Swiss chalet. We were told by the guide that special guests including the Queen of England have stayed in this mansion and they still offer this mansion to very important visiting guests.
Tree sculptures can be found about these ground, from Elephants to little rabbits.
Ho Withun Thasana (The Sages Lookout).The observatory was built by King Chulalongkorn in 1881 as a lookout tower for viewing the surrounding countryside. We were told by or guide that one of the Kings would play games of hide and seek in this tower.
Phra Thinang (Royal Residence) Wehart Chamrun (Heavenly Light).
This Chinese-style two-storey mansion was built by the equivalent of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and presented to King Chulalongkorn in 1889. The ground floor contains a Chinese-style throne; the upper storey houses as alter enshrining the name plates of King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn with their respective queens.
Memorial to Princess Saovabhark Nariratana and Three Royal Children.
In the year 1887 Princess Saovabhark Nariratana, a consort of King Chulalongkorn, and three of his children died.
In 1881, Queen Sunanda Kumariratana and her only daughter Princess Karnabhorn Bejraratana were on their way to the Bang Pa-In Palace when the royal barge carrying them capsized. According to Thai law at the time, touching a royal was punishable by death, so onlookers looked on helplessly as they drowned – and were instructed to do so by a guardian on another boat. King Chulalongkorn, shocked by the events, demoted and jailed the vizier who obeyed the letter of the law at such cost and erected a memorial to her in Bang Pa-In.
The Buddha image, made of brick and mortar and covered with stucco – sits in the classic posture of Subduing Mara. It measures (approx) 14 meters at the lap and 19 meters in height including the ornament above the head. Our tour guide told us that the large Buddha shed tears when the Burmese took Ayutthaya in 1767
While we were there, there was a ceremony where everyone touched/wrapped themselves with this orange cloth, that was eventually pulled up and over the Buddha’s shoulder.
The main Chedi of the temple is 62.10 meters in height and was built with 28,144 tons of brick. Even though the location was prepared to bear a lot of weights, the pressure from the Chedi was enormous and it pushed away underground water until the ground underneath the Chedi became hollow.
The Temple of the Reclining Buddha contained an immense statue of Buddha, the only one we’ve ever seen of Buddha not in his traditional seated position and, as such, the reclining Buddha represents Buddha after his death.
We also saw the Ayutthaya Buddha Head, a head of a Buddha that has been trapped within tree roots as it has grown. This is an iconic image, always used in postcards and travel guides.
During the war with the Burmese, we were told that even thought the Burmese were Buddhists, they went around and knocked off the head of almost every Buddha statue in the area.
This whole area was burnt by the Burmese, most of the building collapsed or were competed destroyed luckily some survived to “live on and tell their story”
We were told that this beautiful temple that stands today was once burnt down, leaving only rubble and a badly burnt Buddha statue. The Burmese many many years later felt bad about the actions of the ancestors, they donated money to Thailand to rebuild this temple and restore the Buddha. Wat Lokayasutharam is where the largest reclining Buddha image lays (32m long, 8m high) in Ayutthaya.
Wat Chai Wattanaram which was being renovated so we were unable to go in and have a look around.
Wat Chai Wattanara along with much of the Ayutthaya Kingdom had been flooded in the 2011 Thailand floods, as you can see this river is very full, a flood bank has been put up to ensure no further damage to this area.