Travel Thailand Ayutthaya Province 
            A new powerful kingdom Ayutthaya, in the South, was founded in 1350/51 by U Thong or king Ramathibodi as his name was after he ascended the throne. Ayutthaya expand it's territory and Sukhothai became a vassal state of Ayutthaya in 1378. Ayutthaya became a powerful and rich kingdom and King Ramathibodi and his successors expanded Ayutthaya's territory. Also Angkor was attacked and in 1550 it had about same borders as present Thailand. But in 1568/69 Ayutthaya fell to the Burmese. The kingdom was however re conquered by King Naresuan after killing the Burmese crown prince with his lance, in a duel on elephant backs. In the coming 100 years, Ayutthaya started to established trade agreements and diplomatic relations with some of their neighbors and the leading European states at this time. The most "cosmopolitan" regent, at the Ayutthaya era, was King Narai. The Frenchmen tried to convert Narai to Christianity but when Narai died, in 1688, the French were driven out, and the king's Greek advisor, Constantine Phaulkon was executed. After over a century of peace, the Burmese attacked Ayutthaya again in 1766, and after more than a year long siege the city was burned down.

 
       


  Wat Yai Chaimongkol (Ayutthaya)
         The Royal chronicles mention that in 1357 King Rama Thibodi I (U Thong) ordered the exhumation of Chao Keo, who had died of cholera, for cremation. He later ordered the construction  chedi and viharn at the cremation site and named it Wat Pa Keo.
           The Sangha group at this wat was composed of Buddhist monks ordained and trained at Phra Wanaratanathen's monastery in Sri Lanka. The place was also the residence of Somdej Phra Wanarat, who was the Right-Side Supreme Patriarch. It was at the same time known as Wat Chao Thai, meaning the monastery of the supreme Sangha leader.
 
         This wat was also involved in important historical events of Ayutthaya, Its ubosoth once served to assemble those conspiring to overthrow Khun Worawongsa andTao Si Sudachan, The conspirators consulted the oracles there before proceeding to stage their successful power seizure. They then requested Phra Tian Raja to leave the monkhood and ascend the throne. The Iatter upon coronation assumed the name King Maha ChakraPat, 
            In 1561, during this reign, the King imposed capital punish­ment on the WatPa Keo Patriarch for his alignment with the rebellious group supporting Phra Si Silp's claim to the throne. [The monk had provided the rebels with a presumed auspicious timing for their action.
   
        During King Naresuan's reign, an event in7592 is presumed to involve a restoration of the principal chedi of this wat. The event might have been a celebration of his victory in his fight on elephant with Phra MahalJparaj lviceroyl of Burma. It has been assumed further that this celebration gave rise to the wat's new name, Vat Yai Chai Mongkhon.
          
During King Naresuan's reign, an event in 1592 is presumed to involve a restoration of the principal chedi of this wat. The event might have been a celebration of his victory in his fight on elephant with Phra Maha Uparaj [viceroy] of Burma. It has been assumed further that this celebration gave rise to the wat's new name, Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon.
Note:
1.
Ruins of the ubosoth, with a new cover erected to preserve it from further damage. Lying behind is the principal chedi.

2. Buddha statue in reclining posture in Viharn Phra Buddha Saiyas [viharn of the reclining Buddha]. The present statue was in fact remodeled after ruins of the original.
3. The bell-shape principal chedi on an octagonal base: there is an upper pedestal structure on the base to accommodate the bell-shape body. A mondop lies infront, whose upper pyramidal structure has fallen down, thus exposing, the Buddha statue housed inside.
4. A row of Buddha statues, which were newly sculpted to replace those which had already fallen to pieces in their original places along the veranda encircling the chedi.
 

 
       



 

WAT PHRA SI SANPET (Ayutthaya)
             Kong Borom Trailokanath transformed the royal court area into a Buddhist compound in 1448 and moved the royal court to a new site further north -on the bank of the present city moat.
           It was nevertheless during the following reign that the wat compound was constructed on the former palatial site. Its principal chedi was erected in King Rama Thibodi II's reign (1492). In1499 viharn luang, or the main hall, was founded, and the following year a large bronze Buddha statue was created for installation in the temple as its principal image. Gilded and cast in a standing posture, the statue was named Phra Si Sanpet, When Ayutthaya was sacked by the Burmese, the gold coating over the statue was presumably taken away by the invaders, leaving the bronze Buddha statue badly damaged.
           During the Rattanakosin period, King Rama I ordered removal of the statue in pieces to Bangkok for restoration at the time of the founding of Wat Phra Chetupon. The statue was however too seriously damaged to be recast into its former state; the King then ordered the construction of a Iarge chedi to incorporate the damaged statue and named it Chedi Sanpet Dayan.
          This temple compound in the Grand PaIace served as a venue for important royal ceremonies such as the taking of the oath of allegiance.
Note:
1 . Standing farther into distance are, in order, the ruins of viharn luang and mondops or square buildings with pyramidal rooftops, of which only the ruined walls remain, and the three bell-shape chedis lying in row as the wat's principal tower.
2. The three bell-shape principal chedis stand prominently as the landmark of the Buddhist compound. There exist on the space between them high bases which were constructed in subsequent periods. The bases were once those  of mondops, only one of which -the one in front of the first principal chedi in the east (1) remains in a barely recognisable shape of a square building. It rooftop, of which there are no traces, must have been of the same pyramidal shape as that of the mondop in Wat Phra Si Ratana Sasdaram in the Grand Palace in Bangkok'
3. The viharn luang, with only traces of the brick verandas encircling the principal chedis.
4. The lines of columns supporting the eaves of viharn luang. Traces of the terracotta lotus-shape tips of some of the columns still remain.The terracotta work allowed the craftsmen to cast the lotus-shape decorations from mold,s; these would, then be baked before being fitted on the tops of the columns.

 
       



 

WAT MAHA THAT (Ayutthaya)
             Wat MahaThat was set up as the sacred center of the capital city in 1374 by King Borom Rajathiraj I (Khun Luang Pangua). This important wat used to serve as the monastery of the Forest-Sect Supreme Patriarch.
           During King Song Tham's reign (1610-1628) the upper part of the Maha That Chedi had fallen into decay and finally fell down, In 1633, in the reign of King Prasat Thong, the chedi was restored and transformed, by a royaI order, into a taller structure. Indeed, the large number of ruins in the wat compound are evidence testifying to the importance of this religious centre, which went through various resto­rations and extensions throughout the late Ayutthaya period.
            Written evidence gives an account of its being set on fire at the time of the city's fall to the Burmese. The MahaThat Chedi at any rate remained in good shape until the reign of King Chulalongkorn, as is evident in an old photo graphtaken in his reign. But on 25 May 1904 at 5 A.M. it fell to the ground, and has been left in ruins since. The Fine Arts Department has tried to restore it only to this condition.
Note:
1. An overview from the north side of the wat showing the main group of ruins of monu­ments whose landmark is the prang-style Maha That Chedi. At present only the laterite base of the chedi and some traces of its upper structure remain. The extensions on all four directions from the base were made of brick. Surrounding this principal chedi are satellite chedis of various styles which are all, to a more or less extent, in ruins. And around the sacred principal chedi is the veranda which is also partly,in ruins; its roof, in particular, has mostly fallen to the ground.
2. Phra Maha That Chedi amongst its satellite constructions.
3.
A satellite chedi on the west side of Phra Maha That Chedi.
4.
The encircling veranda whose roof structure has fallen to pieces. It has been preserved in this condition at the time of its restoration by the Fine Arts Department. The ruins still remaining include traces of the rows of columns supporting  the roof structure in parallel with the veranda walls; and ruins of Buddha images installed in row along the veranda. All these traces provide evidence for at least a partial reconstruction of what it was like in the past.
5.
Viharn luang which has undergone several restorations in the past as well as in our time, together with two Buddha images made of sandstone already in ruins installed on uneven bases. These religious art objects have been arranged for photographic composition which is not a proper arrange­ment in accordance with the traditional patterns of placement of such sacred objects.

 
       


 

WAT DHAMIKARAJ (Ayutthaya)
             Wat Dhamikaraj is a relatively large temple compound. There is a legend about its founding prior to the establishment of Ayutthaya. However, if we consider the artistic evidence, such as the lion figures surrounding the base of the principal chedi, this suggests the artistic style of the early Ayutthaya period.
          At this wat alarge bronze Buddha head was discovered. Its artistic style is indicative of its dating back to the second generation of U Thong art, which predates Alutthaya and whose popularity contin­ued well into the early Ayutthaya period. At present this art object is kept at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum.
           Evidence from ancient ruins at this wat also suggests that it was restored, at least once, in the late Ayutthayaperiod. Documentary evi­dence indicates that it was seriously damaged by fire at the time of the second fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese.
Note:
1. The row of singh figures encircling the octagonal base of the principal chedi, The inner structures of the figures were made of bricks but their outer configurations were sculpted with mortar. The style of the principal chedi must have some what changed from its original design following the various stages of restoration in the past as well as in our time. Likewise, the outer configurations of the sculptures have been modified from their original eary Ayutthaya style through the later restorations.
2. With the collapse of the roof, the overall structure of a building such as viharn rapidly falls  into ruins. Proper restoration consists in conserving what remains and not in putting mortar on the original building walls.
3. Large columns within viharn, standing in row in support of the roof structure which fell down long ago Like the walls, the columns in their good condition must have heen covered with mortar.
4. The portico hall jutting out from the front of viharn showing one of the two remaining large octagonal pillars made of brick and mortar, The pillar size provides us with an idea with which to estimate the actual size of the hall itself -which must have been very large.

 
       


 

WAT RAJABURANA (Ayutthaya)
             Accoding to chronicular accounts, Wat Rajaburana was set up in1424 during the reign of King Borom Rajathiraj ll (Chao Sam Phraya), Following the death of King Nakarindraraja, his first and second sons, Chao Ai Phraya, who ruled Suphan Buri, and Chao Yi Phraya, who ruled San Buri, led their armies to Ayutthaya to back up their claim to the throne. In the ensuing fight, both of them were killed, The third son, Chao Sam Phraya, who arrived later from Chainat, thus ascended the throne, He assumed the name King Borom Rajathiraj II.
Note:
1.
Prang-style principal tower, most prominent among the various satellite chedis.
2. Rising above the tree line, the principal prang has a three-portico structure, hence of a tri muk or three portico type. The three porticos face east, north and south. At the point where the three porticos joined a small decorative chedi called chedi yod was erected.
3. The principal prang, seen from the east, through the front door of viharn luang, There are three doorways, the other two being on its two lateral sides. The wood roof structure has collapsed.
4. There are traces indicating that viharn luang's roof structure was of a multi-leveled construction. The eaves must have been supported by lotus columns, only some of which remain to be seen. The lotus-pattern decorations are of bua chongkon [long-petal lotus] type -which is indicative of its restoration in the late Ayutthaya period, because this decorative style was further cdeveloped during the Rattanakosin period.
5. Two towers stand side by side out in the sun and under the sky, the prang-tyle construction being the principal chedi, and the one with octagonal base supporting a bell-shape upper structure being one of its satellites.

 
       



 

WAT CHAI WATTANARAM AND
PRASAT NAKHON LUANG 
           King Prasat Thong ordered the construction of Wat Chai wattanaram in 1673, which was the first year of his reign. Certain chronicular accounts indicate that the location of this wat had been that of his mother's residence.
        Given its location outside the island city, Wat Chai Wattanaram just prior to the fall of Ayutthaya must have been the site of a garrison or a forward defence of the capital city, Evidence from archaeological ex­cavations includes cannon balls and fragments of cannons which, in action against the Burmese, had been blown to pieces.
         One year after the establishment of Wat Chai Wattanaram, the King dispatched craftsmen to Angkor to bring back the patterns and style of the Cambodi an prasat for the construction of his residential hall at Tambon bordering Wat Tepchanton lying about 15 kilometres to the north of the capital city. This tambon [in modern times a tambon is an administrative unit at a sub-district level] later came to be known as Tambon Phra Nakhon Luang, which is aThai name for Angkor.
         
The reports prepared by the Fine Arts Department on its exca­vation in 1985-1994 indicate that the construction work was not com­pleted during King PrasatThong's reign. Nor was the work continued in the following reign, The royal residential hall was later moved to the compound of Wat Nakhon Luang and was established there in 1809.
Note:
1. The principal prang, very similar in shape and style to the principal prang of Wat Worachet Tepbamrung . The veranda around the prang serves to mark off its area. The veranda is interrupted, on each side of the prang, by a meru .for each of the four main directions, and, at each of its four corners  by a meru for each of the four other directions.
2.  Indented square chedi, one of the two constructions of the same type at Wat Chai  Wattanaram, standing in parallel to the front of the ubosoth. Both of them were  damaged, at their bases; the Fine Arts Depart­ment thus restored them with reinforcement at their foundations. Considering what   remains of these monuments, we can assume that the damaged, bases must have been those of a taller type. There must thus have been balustrades on these high structures and stairways leading up to them.
3.  Phra Nakhon Luang royal hall, as restored by the Fine Arts Department.

 
       


 

VIHARN PHRA MONGKHON BOPIT
             According to chronicular accounts ,the area where this viharn is situated used to be the location of a wat in the reign of King Song Tham. The Royal Chronicles record his order to move a Iarge Buddha statue named Mongkhon Bopit from a certain area to the east of this place and to construct a mondop to house it.
          In 1703,during King Sua's reign, the pyramidal structure of the mondop was destroyed by a bolt of lightning which also broke the neck of the statue.
          In1741, King Borom Kos ordered its restoration. The head of the statue was reconnected with its body, and the mondop which had sheltered it was replaced by a new type of building -a gabled roof viharn.
         When Ayutthaya fell to the Burmese in 1767, both the viharn and Phra Mongkhon Bopit were seriously damaged by fire. The place was left deserted until the reign of King RamaVI, when it was restored in 1920. Another restoration took place in 1931 with the financial sup­port of Khunying Amares Sombat.
          In 1957 the Fine Arts Department undertook a major restoration of this wat, and in 1990 the provincial administration of Ayutthaya was permitted by the Fine Arts Department to cover Phra Mongkhon Bopit with gold leaf to commemorate  the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday.
Note:
1. Looking east, with a view of the front portico of the viharn.
2. Viharn Phra Mongkhon Bopit before restoration .
3. Phra Mongkhon Bopit .

 
       

   WAT PHRA RAM (Ayutthaya)
           Certain chronicular accounts indicate that King Ramesuan or­dered  the construction of this wat in 1369 at  the cremation site of his father, King Rama Thibodi I (King U Thong).
          But King Ramesuan was on the throne for only one year, and the construction had not yet been completed, King Borom Rajathiraj (Khun Luang Pangua) who succeeded him must have carried on the construction work, or permitted its continuation, Or possibly King Ramesuan resumed the work after his return to the throne for the sec­ond time.
           A major renovation of this wat was presumed to be undertaken in the reign of King Borom Trailokanath. Certain chronicular accounts even record its establishment during this reign. Another major restora­tion took place in1741 in the late Ayutthaya period during King Borom Kos'reign.
Note:
1.
The principal prang at a distance, rising above the tree line, with lotus in the foreground..
2. A bird's-eye view of the wat area, showing other ancient ruins with the principal prang being a landmark
3. A front view on the wat area, showing the deserted ancient ruins reflected in the nearby pond, with the principal prang most prominent among them. Satellite construc­tions, chedis of various styles, and roofed buildings, only traces of the bases of which remain, were either erected at the time of the wat's establishment or in later periods; and all of them had undergone restoration at one time or another until the fall of the capital city.
 
       


 

WAT BUDDHAISAWAN
             Chronicular accounts Record that King Rama Thibodi I (King U Thong) founded this wat, which is located at Tambon Wiang Lek, where he had resided before establishing Ayutthaya.
          The ancient buildings within its compound are indicative of restoration and extension works undertaken throughout the Ayutthaya period, The new constructions include the chedis in row, some of which were built during the middle Ayutthayaperiod, and the residential build­ing of Somdej Phra Buddhakosajarn, which was constructed, together with its mural paintings, in the late Ayutthaya period. Major restoration work includes the restoration of the principal prang, which was also further renovated in the Rattanakosin period. This latter renovation was carried out in King Chulalongkorn's reign with the people's financial support.
Note:
1.The monument to former kings of ,Ayutthaya, erected by the wat committee in the front of its compound, by the riverside, The statue in the middle is labeled King Rama Thibodi I (King U Thong. On his right is the statue of King Naresuan the Great in a standing posture with a sword in his hand; on the left is the statue of King Ekathosarot, also in a standing posture, holding a pike in his hand.
2. The principal prang, painted in white (characteristic of the restoration work of the Fine Arts Departmen) has bases protruding towards the north and south, resulting in a wing-like formation which was characteristic of principal prangs of the early Ayutthaya period. The satellite buildings erected on these bases are mondops. Seen in this picture is the south mondop, which, like the principal prang itself, has been restored.
          Further away from the Buddhist monk sweeping the temple ground lies the veranda inclosing the principal prang.
3. Constructions in the eastern part of the wat compound include two roofed buildings, which have been restored by the Fine Arts Department, and chedis of various shapes which are still under repair.

 
       


 

WAT SUWAN DARARAM
           
               In the late Ayutthaya period this wat was known as Wat Thong, which was the name of King Rama I's father who established it. When the King founded the Chakri Dynasty of Bangkok, he ordered a major restoration of this wat and changed its name to Wat Suwan Dararam.
Note:
1.  The ubosoth, Iooking similar in architec­tural style to that of Wat Phra Si Ratana Sasadaram (Wat Phra Keo) in Bangkok.
2. The principal Buddha in the ubosoth.
3.  The viharn is similar in style to the ubosoth.
4.  Fighting on elephant in the story of King Naresuan the Great, as relived in mural paintings in the viharn, created by Phraya Anusas Jitrakorn (Chan Jitrakorn), a popular painter in King Rama VI's reign. This painting was done in King Rama VII's reign.