Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
The Ayutthaya period is considered one of the most glorious eras of Thai history. In 1976 the ruins of the magnificent city became the national heritage called Ayutthaya Historical Park for later generations of Thai people to admire. In 1991, UNESCO announced the city of Ayutthaya as a World Heritage Site.
The realm lasted for 417 years, with 33 kings from five dynasties; Ou-Thong, Supanapoom, Sukothai, Prasatthong, and Baanpluluang. It is the longest-lasting capital in Thai history with King Ou-Thong as the first king of the era.
There are thousands of historical sites in the province of Ayutthaya which covers an area of 1,810 Rai. Therefore, traveling in this old capital requires time and determination. In the past, tourists usually came to visit only places near the centre of the city like Wat Praseesanpet, whose importance is equivalent to Sukothai’s Wat Mahatat or Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaew. Also, the ancient royal palace that contained important thrones of Wihansomdet, Sunpetprasaat, and Suriyat-Amarin was also a nearby attraction that drew many tourists. Another interesting spot was the exotic sandstone Buddha’s head covered with intertwining roots. Lastly, Wat Ratburana, which was built by King Baromarajadiraj the Second (Chao Sam Praya), was a famous temple of the Ayutthaya period where the Oath of Allegiance Ceremony was assumed to have taking place.
After finishing the city island, tourists then crossed the river to the eastern side of the island where the old capital is believed to be located. Situated there is Wat Yai Chaimongkol with its prominent chedi and Wat Panancherng with the oldest statue of Buddha in a Manwichai posture “Luang Poh Tau”. The statue is believed to have been cast twenty years prior to the establishment of the Ayutthaya kingdom.
At present, many of the ancient temples are now open for visitors. They incorporate Wat Samanagotharam, Wat Gudidao, Wat Jakkrawat, Wat Ayothaya, and Wat Dusitaram. The unique architecture of these temples includes huge bell-shaped chedi decorated with lotus-shaped stucco.
On the northern side, the chedi of Wat Mae Nang Pluem is surrounded with beautifully carved stucco lions. Wat Naapramane is an ancient temple in the most perfect condition with an exquisite principle Buddha image.
The last spot is the western side of the island. Wat Puttaisawan is a temple built by King Ou-Thong as a temporary palace before the establishment of the Ayutthaya kingdom. Not far from it, Wat Chaiwattanaram is situated near the river bank with its reflection bearing a resemblance to the great Angkor Wat of Cambodia.