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Moody Skies over Wat Chaiwatthanaram (UNESCO) | Ayutthaya | Thailand

Explore(d), December 9, 2011 #374


Wat Chaiwatthanaram (Thai: วัดไชยวัฒนาราม) is a Buddhist temple in the city of Ayutthaya, Thailand, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, outside Ayutthaya island. It is one of Ayutthaya's most beautiful temples and a major tourist attraction.


It is a large compound and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 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 resident in that area. The temple's name literally means the Temple of long reign and glorious era. It was designed in Khmer style which was popular in that time. It has a central 35 meter high prang in Khmer style (Thai: พระปรางด์ประธาน) with four smaller prangs. The whole construction stands on a rectangular platform. About halfway up there are hidden entrances, to which steep stairs lead.


After the total destruction of the old capital (Thai: กรุงเก่า - Krung Kao) by the Burmese in 1767, from which Wat Chai Watthanaram was not spared, the temple was deserted. Theft, sale of bricks from the ruins and the beheading of the Buddha statues were common. Only in 1987 did the Thai Department of Fine Arts started restoring the site. In 1992 it was opened to the public.


This site suffered badly under the recent floods, it was under 2 meters of water for over 2 months. There are fears it may collapse.


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Taken on December 27, 2009