Wat Chaiwatthanaram ruins still stands grand as it was before.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram Ruins :
Identified by cultural historians as the structure most emblematic of Buddhism’s influence on Thai society, the Buddhist temple of Wat Chaiwatthanaram was commissioned in 1630 by King Prasat Thong in the traditional Khmer style. The temple is situated 80 kilometers north of Bangkok, within the ancient city of Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya was the capital of the Siamese kingdom at the height of its power and influence, from 1350 until it’s besiegement by the Burmese army in 1767. While Ayutthaya was once a thriving economic center, Wat Chaiwatthanaram was until very recently a deserted ruin, subject to decay and looting, and encroached upon by unlicensed residential housing. Illegal housing was demolished in the 1980s, and in 1987 the Fine Arts Department of Thailand began conserving the site. Considered one of Thailand’s most significant monuments, Wat Chaiwatthanaram sits adjacent to the central area of Ayutthaya, which was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1991. The site is also of paramount economic value to the local population, attracting thousands of tourists every week.
Situated atop a rectangular masonry platform, a thirty-five meter high central prang (tower-like spire) is surrounded by four small prangs, which are in turn flanked by eight merus, structures used as crematorium for some royal figures that sit outside the platform perimeter. Originally, paintings decorated the interior walls of the merus, and relief scenes depicting the life of the Buddha covered the exteriors. Buddha image statues also populated the merus, covered in gold. Unfortunately, fragments are all that remain of these decorative elements.
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.
More photos of Wat Chaiwatthanaram here.
Our group trip photos in Instagram.