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This is Ayutthaya

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  • This is Ayutthaya

    Although this is a new thread here in the Thailand section, I absolutely must begin by giving a link to a personal thread of pakarang’s in which he shows images taken over many visits there (as well as some useful information about the history of this former capital of Siam). In contrast, my photographs are all taken on one quite short visit in March 2010.

    I had arrived by train in the late afternoon, and would stay the night at a nearby hotel across and a short distance along the road. The station is situated on the other side of the river from the town centre –and that statement, I realise as I write it, requires further explanation!

  • #2
    The city lies at the confluence of three rivers, the Chao Phraya, Lopburi and Pa Sak, and is in fact an island. The station is to the east beyond the island, and the railway line and a road are aligned parallel to the straight stretch of river at this side. A number of ferries are a convenient way of reaching the island apart from the busy road bridges.

    As I would be visiting the most famous of Ayutthaya’s temple ruins on the island with the guide the following day, I spent the remainder of the afternoon in the immediate vicinity of the hotel and the station, but, as is so often the case, found much to interest me in what some might find rather ordinary surroundings.

    Here are views of the river, taken from the same place but looking in opposite directions.


    • #3

      The road and the lanes and alleys between it and the river provide many contrasts, from a couple of large hotels to a jumble of dwellings and workplaces.


      • #4
        Next to where a canal passes under the road and flows into the river there is a local temple.


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          • #6

            Nearer the station there’s a 7/11, and a small guesthouse and restaurant. I decided to have my evening meal here.


            • #7

              I returned to wander around the local temple I mentioned earlier –it is called Wat Phichai Songkhram.
              I liked just being around places with local people, children playing, everyday life.


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                    • #11

                      Contrasts of everyday life

                      Market stalls

                      The sun setting over the canal.


                      • #12
                        Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

                        Travelling with a group or guide, at a time before I had maps readily to hand via internet and iPad could result in not really grasping the overall sense of place and geography, and the inset map of Ayutthaya in a corner of my folded paper map of the entirety of Thailand wasn’t really up to the job. So while I have such vivid memories of that ”ordinary road” around the hotel and railway station, it is only now, looking at my photos, that I realise that I wasn’t taken to the ruins on the island itself until the afternoon of the following day. The first visit that morning was to Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon which is actually situated further to the south east of the hotel.

                        So, feeling as if I had been “transported” Star-Trek style, I suddenly find myself standing within ruined brick walls at the feet of a reclining Buddha, who lies gold-gowned beneath the open sky.


                        • #13

                          I approached the Buddha’s head. Gold leaf glistened on his cheeks and lips and gleamed in his eyes.

                          Then the realisation that the statue lay north-south. Head to the south, and facing east.


                          • #14
                            The history of the monastery and temple is a long and complex story, the scene of many events closely reflecting the history of the city of Ayutthaya itself. Sacked by the Burmese in 1766 and left deserted, the temple was eventually re-established in the 1950’s.

                            The remains of this hall have been recently re-roofed, and as elsewhere in the temple complex, restoration has been done in such a way as to retain the feeling and appearance of the former ruins.


                            • #15