T H A I L A N D
to the former capital of Thailand, Ayuthaya. Located only 86km (53 miles) north of Bangkok, Ayuthaya is famous for the remnants of its past glory. Wats (temples) really do abound in this otherwise modest little city, and it's fairly compact—making it relatively easy to see as much as you want to in just a few days.
(By the way, in case you were wondering: Yes, the background image on this page is of a map of Ayuthaya, though of course it's kind of hard to make much of anything out, except for the rivers and center of town!)
We're starting off here on the street, a busy intersection with the sort of backdrop you don't see in many places!
This is Wat Ratchburana beyond the traffic, and by just walking across the street and entering the grounds—if you can shut out the noise of the traffic—you can almost make yourself believe you've been transported back in time. Of course, back then the place wasn't nearly deserted (save for the odd tourist climbing over the massive stones), and the occasional sight of modernity—a plane overhead, a radio tower piercing the sky nearby—will bring you to your senses!
The next shot, below, is also of Wat Ratchburana, looking east if our memory serves right.
is quite a nice old wat, located just south-west of the large pond/lake in Ayuthaya (called Beung Phra Ram). Here's a shot of it, with (if you look very closely) elephants being ridden, back behind:
And Wat Naphramere, one January morning, a large bird flying off to the left:
On the other side of this wat, we can see signs of nature taking its toll on a small stupa!
Also at Wat Naphramera: restoration work going on...
is another great wat. Actually, it's really a whole bunch of structures, its many stupas piercing the sky and looking both eerie and beautiful, especially at dusk, when we spent most of our time there.
And on to Wat Kasatthirat, where shortly after this photo was taken, we were welcomed into a nearby wat, and were promptly "blessed" by an old monk—after having made a small "donation," of course!
Can you possibly handle another wat or two?!
Here's Wat Chaiwatthanaram—now that's a mouthful!
According to our Lonely Planet guidebook:
"Wat Chai Wattanaram used to be one of Ayuthaya's most overgrown, evocative-of-a-lost-city type of ruins, with stately lines of disintergrating Buddhas. Today, some hard restoration work (and the wonders of modern cement) has produced a row of lookalike brand-new Buddhas. It's still a lovely wat with nice gardens."
We'd had to agree, and weren't really put off by any of the restoration work/newness!
One more of Wat Chaiwatthanaram, here showing a few of those seated Buddhas:
Ok, that's all for this page—we promise!
Hope you enjoyed looking at all of these wats. If you're somehow interested in even more (a glutton for punishment?!), why don't you go to the Wat's This? page (miscellaneous wat shots), or any of the others at this site ( Luang Prabang, Vientiane) that are full of great architecture?
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