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Ayutthaya Guide

The Ayudhya Kingdom was founded in 1893 B.E. at the end of the Sukhotai reign. It also incorporated Sukhotai into its domain and prospered for 417 years. Altogether there were 34 kings from 6 dynasties. It reached its zenith twice and was subjugated twice.
King Ramathibodi I proclaimed his independence from the Khmer rule in the year 1893 B.E. and built his capital, Krung Sri Ayudhya, at the central plain where four rivers,
the Chao Phya, the Noi, the Lop Buri and the Pa Sak rivers, meander. It took him 3 years to finish the job. He started by building the city wall first of all. Once finished, it was dedicated in the year 1893 B.E. as Krungthep Thavaravadde Sri Ayudhya Maha Dilok Phob Noparat Raja Thani Burirum.
While it prospered, it conducted foreign trade also. Export goods included the Sang kha loke potteries to China and elsewhere, wildlife products, satin, household items, glazed potteries as well as some gold regalia. The most sought after was the glazed porcelain.
In time, Krung Sri Ayudhya became a very large center, expanded and became very powerful. It freed itself from the Khmer rule and annexed Chieng mai and Sukhotai.
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the Sang kha loke potteries exported to China and elsewhere
the white and blue potteries were so popular as in the France note that in the royal house and lord 's house are full of white and blue pottery, So did the house of king Louis king of France , besides forest products, beautiful textiles, jewelry etc.,

The artistic style of the early Ayudhya period
naturally enough, was based on that of the Khmer. The prang of the Buddhist temples that proliferated, such as
Wat Ma ha tard, Wat Buddhai Sawan, Wat Phra Ram and Wat Rajburana

were of Khmer temple style.

 

 

For the important temples of the capital city, there arose the notion that the chedi was the pillar of the temple and that the prang had to face to the east, with a gate in front and steps climbing up the prang.

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Wat Rajburana

 


The main prang is made of stone, as the Khmer temples, the temple has no windows but the ventilation opening called "ma houng"
It was during this time also that it was believed that the chedis be the place to house the Buddha statutes, similar to the Khmer practice of keeping the statutes of their Hindu gods in their prang.Sri Lankan style chedi,
Wat Phra Sri Sanpetch The chedis of Wat Phra Sri Sanpetch were bell-shaped chedis put together in a row of three on the same base, with two quadrangular structures between the three chedis. Around each chedi, facing the four directions, are four arches each of which houses a statue of standing Buddha. There is a small chedi on top of each spire. The bell-shape is clearly Lankan in style, with a square layer put on the neck of the bell acting as a base for a round spire of tiered segments upon segments going to the top, the uppermost segment is pear-shaped.

 

Wat ma hea yong

 

Apart from the Khmer notions, the Sri Lankan Chedi style was also favored.

 

 Wat Na Phra Main


At this temple, the Na Phra Main Temple, its pillars are large octagonal pillars;

on top were columns of lotus flowers supporting the roof. The ceiling was decorated with stars and flowers of water lettuce. The gable was carved wooden motif of angels such as Vishnu riding a garuda, surrounded by angels or demons, topped with multi-tiered parasols. The Kan tory were wavy curled, just like the Khmer Naga, quite enormous, strong and beautiful.
The earlier era of Krung Sri Ayudhya ended when it was defeated and sacked by the Burmese for the first time in 2112 B.E.

It became a vassal of Burma for 15 years. The Burmese looted everything, and the Kingdom became very poor. Religious edifices that were built during this time were therefore small. The temples became smaller, with no pillars nor even windows-those with windows the windows tended to be small. The basic chedis of this time were the Langan bell-shaped, with round base, such as at Wat Raj Banthom.

Period of genuine Ayudhya art
Period of genuine Ayudhya art. King Naresuan the Great fought to liberate Krung Sri Ayudhya from the Burmese rule and succeeded in 2127 B.E. Ayudhya prospered once more and reached its zenith during the reign of King Narai the Great.

During the reign of King Prasad thong, Ayudhya defeated Cambodia and this prompted the construction of
Wat Chai Watana Ram at the Wat Thepchan sub-district, along side the Pa sak River. The Ayudhya artisans imitated Ankor Wat such that Wat Chai Watana Ram is huge, imposing, elaborated and beautiful. The prang, the pillar of the Wat, was beautifully and imposingly designed by the Ayudhya artisans. It was much taller than the Khmer prang, and the visiting Langkan embassy described its beauty and its imposition as not lesser than the Khmer’s Brahmin temple.

Wat Chai Watana Ram


However, a number of contemporary wats or temples were constructed with angular chedis of twelve angles,

which presumably were the favorite style of the days.

Some of these were the Chedis Sri Suriyothai and the chedi at Wat Phukhaothong. These chedis, just mentioned, were built upon 13 layers of angular bases, while the stupas were tall and bell shaped-thus making them very imposing. They were somewhat similar to the Khmer style chedis of the Sukhothai period, with high bases of various shapes, sometimes square, sometimes octagonal, and sometimes round.

 

Chedi at Wat Phukhaothong


It should be pointed out also that some of the chedis of the Ayudhya period were peculiarly designed, such as at Wai Yai Chaimongkol. It was angular, with twelve layers up to the neck where it was similar to the Sri Vijaya Chedi. The underlying base was square and octagonal in tandem, with stupas on the corners.
Krung Sri Ayudhya prospered until 2310 B.E. when the invading Burmese again defeated it. The Burmese used cannons to demolish the city wall. Once inside, they ransacked and burned the palace and Wat Phra Sri Sanpetch and took captive the king and members of his family as well as the nobilities. The city was torched for 15 days and nights.
Most of the wats and temples and palaces were reduced to ruin and baring -to be seen nowadays- only some chedis and bases of the temples. The one exception that was not destroyed, since the Burmese used it as base camp, was the
Wat Na Phra Meru, which enabled it to maintain its temple and the beauty of its artistic style.
King Tak-sin the Great succeeded in liberating Thailand from the Burmese rule in 2310 B.E., But Auydhya was so dilapidated and ruinous. He therefore moved his capital to Thonburi. Thonburi became the capital of Thailand for 15 years. Before King Phra Buddhayodfa Chulaloke, or Rama I of the Chakri Dynasty, established and moved his capital to Ratanakoseni, or Bangkok, in 2325 B.E.
All in all, the Ayudhya heritage is also universally acknowledged. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, also classified it not as Thailand’s own but the world heritage of all mankind.