Tag Archives: UNESCO

Temple Run in Ancient Ayutthaya

About 70 kilometers outside of Bangkok, is the city of Ayutthaya, the ancient, former capital of Thailand. It is currently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is managed as a historical park.

Clockwise from top right: The reclining buddha at Wat Lokayasutharam; The most popular scene in Wat Mahathat of the buddha head enwrapped by tree roots. As a sign of respect, when taking pictures, you mus not stand over the Buddha head; The wide expanse of Wat Chaiwatthanaram; One of the very few intact buddha figures in Wat Maha That

Clockwise from top right: The reclining buddha at Wat Lokayasutharam; The most popular scene in Wat Mahathat of the buddha head enwrapped by tree roots. As a sign of respect, when taking pictures, you must not stand over the Buddha head; The wide expanse of Wat Chaiwatthanaram; One of the very few intact buddha figures in Wat Maha That

The city was founded in 1350 by King U-thong but was razed to the ground by the Burmese Army in 1767, consequently prompting Bangkok to be proclaimed the new capital. Yet, to this day, one can still see traces of the grandeur that must have been Ayutthaya.

I reached Ayutthaya from Bangkok via minivan stationed at the Victory Monument. I left about noon time and reached the former capital in about an hour for 70 Baht (versus a cab service offered to me, priced at 1000 Baht roundtrip). There are a lot of temples, monasteries and interesting sites in Ayutthaya and should take an entire day at the very least to enjoy. But, since I was pressed for time and could only spare the afternoon at the time before flying back home by evening, I had to make the most of what few hours I had left. So I hired a tuk-tuk and a guide to take me to the temple sites at 200 Baht an hour which wasn’t such a bad going rate from what I’ve read and researched.

A map of Ayutthaya and the list of the stops within the historical park.

I only made it to 5 sites because I wanted to take my time and enjoy the experience especially at the sprawling Wat Chaiwatthanaram, where I found myself enchanted, sitting on the seemingly-endless grounds of the wat, listening to the echoes of birds chirping and basking in the afternoon sun, all the while doing my very best to ignore the unforgiving, oven-like heat and humidity. Oh, but I’m getting ahead of myself. So please, join me in reliving my experience with the pictures below. I’ve posted a picture link of a map I found online which will show you a list of all the temples and stops within the city, should you find it helpful.

Wat Maha That

Built in Khmer -style architecture, this temple is quite possibly the oldest one on the block.

One of the satellite viharas. The blackened pieces of rubble were once figures of Buddha.

Background: One of the satellite viharas. Foreground: The blackened pieces of rubble were once figures of Buddha.

Wat Benchamabophit

A little more recent among the other temples, this wat was built some time in the 1900’s hence the more modern architecture.

In retrospect, I should have gone inside...

In retrospect, I should have gone inside…

Wat Phra Sri Sanpet

This is the temple within the premises of the royal palace and each of the 3 main stupas house the ashes of kings of long ago. minor stupas house ashes of royal family members and latter kings.

Beautiful and Grandiose stupas.

Beautiful and Grandiose stupas.

Wat Lokayasutharam

An 8m x 32m long reclining Buddha.

An 8m x 37m long reclining Buddha. Quite huge, really.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram

This was built for King U-thong’s mother and was patterned after Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

I enjoyed this temple the most, with its serene courtyards  and beautiful red brickwork. If only those walls could talk and tell me of the hundreds of years it has weathered...

I enjoyed this temple the most, with its serene courtyards and beautiful red brickwork. If only those walls could talk and tell me of the hundreds of years it has weathered and witnessed…

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UNESCO World Poetry Day 2011

Manila Bulletin had an article today about World Poetry Day and how we should work towards encouraging the youth to write poems about nature and the environment. I couldn’t agree more. It would be another form of advocating for environmental causes and immortalizing the beauty of nature in words.

In celebration of World Poetry Day (which coincides with my parents’ 30th Wedding Anniversary), I would like to pay tribute to Alfred Joyce Kilmer’s Trees. The verses of this poem, presently line a stretch of the road that leads to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

 

TREES

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

Tree-planting with Loren Legarda