Sunday, August 31, 2014

JANUARY 31, 2014: AYUTTHAYA


January 31, 2014

     After breakfast I'm feeling 100% better, like I never was sick at all.  Thank goodness as there's a lot more traveling ahead of us!
     AYUTTHAYA-TOUR WITH TONG  We are promptly picked up at 8:00 am.  Our guide is Pom and our driver is Kom.  Both of these men will prove to be delightful.  Pom is full of info on Ayutthaya and Kom is such a courteous, safe driver.  I present Pom with my list and he says we may be able to add Bang Pa-In Palace.  Great.  Nice drive.  We will visit 7 different sites plus stop for lunch.  Ayutthaya was the ancient capital of the southern Kingdom of Siam from 1350-1767.  Founded by King Rama Thibodi I.  The Ayuttaya kings had laws based on the Hindu religion.   It was an important center for trade and farming due to its location on the Chao Phraya River not far from Bangkok.  Rice production was important.  The city once had almost 2000 temples but much was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767.
     WAT YAI CHAIMONGKOL   Great Monastery of Auspicious Victory.  Admission 20 baht per person.  Built by King U-Thong in 1357 for monks returning from Ceylon.  It is an active monastery today.  Its visible bell shaped chedi stands on an elevated square base with smaller chedis in the corners.  The chedi was built in 1592 to celebrate King Naresuan's victory over the Burmese Crown Prince in elephant back duel.  A place of literacy and education.  The climb is fairly easy.  I did it with no problems.



Main chedi







The former gallery











Ordination hall/ubosot






 Reclining Buddha



     WAT MAHATHAT  Temple of the Great Relics.  Admission 50 baht per person.  This is where you can see the famous image of Buddha's head intertwined in the roots of a fig tree.  But there is a lot more to this site.  Was the residence of the Supreme Patriarch leader of the Thai Buddhist monks.  Believed to have been built during the 14th century.
Seen from the car on the drive to Wat Mahathat

Drive to Wat Mahathat














View from the south



False windows



Pom explaining the site to me.  Base of the main prang-quincunx.














     WAT NA-PHRAMER  Temple in Front of the Funeral Pyre.  Royal cremation area.   The main Buddha image-Phra Buddha Nimitr Vichit Maramoli Sisanpeth Boromtrailokanat is golden,  seated in subduing Mara position and has on royal attire.  Ornate red columns.   Dvaravadi Buddha image of green hue stone in seated posture is in a separate small Viharn.  Admission 20 baht per person.





Ordination hall/Ubosot


Phra Buddha Nimitr Vichit Maramoli Sisanpeth Boromtrailokanat-crowned Buddha image









Vishnu mounted on garuda on top of demon head Rahu placed between 2 nagas and flanked by 26 celestial beings/deva-thewada.  Vishnu's hands holding trident, discus, conch, and a baton.  On top of Vishnu is a royal tiered umbrella and behind his head is an arch framed halo.  Beautiful!






















     WAT PHRA SI SANPHET AND GRAND PALACE  Admission  50 baht per person.  Original home of the Emerald Buddha which is now in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok.  Construction started probably during the reign of King Trailok.  Compound located within Royal Palace grounds.  Royal chapel so no resident monks.    Used for royal ceremonies and for storing royal relics.  There are 3 Ceylonese style pagodas which enshrine the ashes of royal family members.    The viharn of Sanphet was built in 1499 by King Rama Thibodi II.  A large gold Buddha image was inside the viharn moved to Wat Po in Bangkok. but was removed by the Burmese when they attacked Ayutthaya.




Whitewash  stupas















Remains Royal Palace







Chedis Wat Phra Si Sanphet



     LUNCH at RUEAN ROJJANA   We normally don't eat lunch when we're home and are even less inclined in this heat but we order something light-a green salad and shrimp fried noodles with coke and sprite.  Cost was 280 baht.



Shrimp fried noodles

Salad
   















   


LOKAYASNTHARAM  Large reclining Buddha.  Faces to the east.    Head rests on a lotus bud and in the crook of his arm.  Offerings of flower garlands and incense.  Draped in a bright yellow robe.








     WAT CHAI WATTANARAM  The majority of the site is closed for renovations after flooding. This is an ancient Buddhist monastery built by King Prasat Thong in 1630 to commemorate his mother and to celebrate his coronation.  Main prang symbolizes Mount Meru and the 4 smaller corner prangs symbolize the 4 continents where human beings live-Buddhist cosmology view.  Only the base of the coronation hall is left.  We did not enter the site as there is a 100 baht admission fee per person and since it's mostly closed off due to the flooding our guide just suggested we walk around the perimeter.












     BANG PA-IN PALACE  Admission 100 baht per person.  This is a huge compound with beautiful landscaped grounds.  I'm so glad we had time to spend here.  The history of the palace dates back to the 17th century with King Prasat Thong.  Ayutthaya fell in 1767 so the site became neglected and overgrown.  It was revived by King Rama IV.  The present day royal palace dates from the reign of King Chulalongkorn when most of the buildings that are there today were constructed.  Now the palace is used occasionally by King Bhumibol Adulyadej/Rama IX and Queen Sirikit as a residence and for holding receptions and banquets.  Buildings in Thai, Chinese, and European style.  Outer palace-Ho Hem Monthian Thewarat, Saphakhan Ratchaprayun, Phra Thiang Aisawan Thiphya-Art, Phra Thinang Warophat Phiman.  Inner palace-Phra Thinang Uthayan Phumisathian, Ho Withun Thasana, Phra Thinang Wehart Chamrun, Phra Tamnak Fai Nai, Memorials.








Phra Thinnang Warophat Phiman-Neoclassical style mansion built by King Chulalongkorn in 1876 as his residence and throne hall.  Still used by current rulers whenever they reside at the palace.







Inside of Saovarod Bridge

Saovarod Bridge


Here you can see the covered bridge which connects the inner palace to the outer palace








Pae Song Baht
Ho Withun Thasana-lookout tower/observatory

View from tower lookout

View from tower lookout

View from tower lookout



Phra Thinang Wehart Chamrun-Cinese style 2 story mansion.  Palace of romance with ornamented tile floors,  large ebony furniture, gold/silver/porcelain used to decorate.  












Dragon relief at the Chinese style Palace





Phra Thinang Uthayan Phumisathian:   Favorite residence of King Chulalongkorn when he stayed at the summer palace. Built of wood in a 2 story style of a Swiss chalet.








Aisawan Thiphya-At Pavilion and the Tevaraj-Kanlai Gate.  Thai style pavilion with 4 porches and a spired roof built by King Chulalongkorn in the middle of an outer pond in 1876.  Now houses a bronze statue of the king in the uniform of a Field Marshal.  Also Doll's Bridge and Gra-Jom Tae.


Tevaraj-Kanlai Gate




Gra-Jom Num-Raun 










Couldn't resist this!!
     It has been a long but rewarding day.  I have so enjoyed this trip to Ayutthaya.  This TOUR WITH TONG day trip to AYUTTHAYA cost 4000 baht and you pay your own admission fees and lunch.   I would recommend this.  We arrive back to our hotel around 5:00 pm.  Pom and Kom were wonderful.
Pom, my husband Richard, and Kom
     After cleaning up we have to think about dinner.  We decide to just walk around and choose whatever takes our fancy.   My husband says he only wants to get something light.  He doesn't feel like having a big meal.  As we walk down Silom we see the Holiday Inn, Jameson's.  But we don't feel like Irish so we head inside the hotel to see what restaurants they may have.  Upstairs we see a large open area with several people dining.  We decide to get a table here.  Menu has light choices like salads, soup, sandwiches.  We end up ordering soup with garlic bread.  Mushroom for my husband and minestrone for me.  It really hit the spot for us.  Cost 865.10 baht with 10% service charge added.



Minestrone soup

Mushroom soup





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