It is very interesting to understand the architecture of Wat Chaiwatthanaram.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram (The Architecture) :
Wat Chaiwatthanaram is a Buddhist temple in the city of Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, outside Ayutthaya island. It is one of Ayutthaya’s best known temples and a major tourist attraction.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram lies on the west bank of Chao Phraya River, south west of the old city of Ayutthaya. It is a large compound part of Ayutthaya Historical Park; however not a part of Historic City of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It can be reached by road or by boat.
The temple was constructed in 1630 by the king Prasat Thong as the first temple of his reign, as a memorial of his mother’s residence in that area. The temple’s name literally means the Temple of long reign and glorious era. It was designed in Khom style, which was popular in that time. It has a central 35 meter high prang in Khmer style with four smaller prangs.
Wat Chai Watthanaram is an example of symmetry architecture. The temple is built on an east-west axis, oriented to the east; towards the main river and the upcoming sun. The monastery is nearly perfectly sculpted, rendering it a beauty as much in the horizontal as in the vertical plan. Most of the structures described here under still can be seen today, with exception of the vihara and the monk’s residences, which were likely mainly, built in wood. The use of eight spired roof halls or meru in the construction of the gallery makes Wat Chaiwatthanaram a unique monument.
The whole construction stands on a rectangular platform. About halfway up there are hidden entrances, to which steep stairs lead. The central platform is surrounded by eight chedi-shaped chapels, which are connected by a rectangular cross-shaped passage (Phra Rabieng). The passage had numerous side entries and was originally roofed and open inwards, but today only the foundations of the pillars and the outside wall still stand. Along the wall, there were 120 sitting Buddha statues, probably painted in black and gold. The eight chedi-like chapels are formed in a unique way. They had paintings on the interior walls, the exterior ones decorated by 12 reliefs depicting scenes from the life of Buddha (Jataka), which must be “read” clockwise.
Just fragments of the paintings and the reliefs survived. In each of the rectangular chedis were two sitting Buddha statues and in each of the four middle chedis was one big sitting Buddha statue, also lacquered in black and gold. The ceiling over those statues was of wood with golden stars on black lacquer.
More photos of Wat Chaiwatthanaram here.
Our group trip photos in Instagram.