Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya or more commonly known to the people of the world as Ayutthaya is a gorgeous and historic city situated in the southern region of Thailand. It is the capital of Ayutthaya province in Thailand. As of 2006, the city has a population of roughly about 55, 000 and a total area of about 14.48 square kilometers. The city is located in the Valley of Chao Phraya River. The City was founded by King U. Thong in the year 1350. The city is often referred to as ‘Kingdom of Ayutthaya’ and plays an important part in the rich of history of Thailand. Owing to this rich history, Ayutthaya became the second capital of Thailand (The first one was Sukhothai). The city is filled with ancient monasteries and remnants of all that happened in the history of Ayutthaya. In the year 1767, the Burmese army attacked Ayutthaya which lead to the collapse of the kingdom. Thus, Ayutthaya remained the capital of Thailand from 1350 to 1767 till its destruction by the hands of the Burmese army. As much as 35 kings ruled the kingdom of Ayutthaya during its existence.
Location of Ayutthaya
The city is located at the junction of three rivers, namely Chao Phraya, Lopburi and Pa Sak. It comes in the way of the main north-south railway linking Chiang Mai and Bangkok. When measured from the capital of the country, Bangkok, the city is at a distance of nearly 40 miles (64 kilometers) from Bangkok and is situated towards the north of Bangkok.
Ayutthaya Historical Park
The Ayutthaya historical park is one of the best places to visit if you ever visit Ayutthaya. The park showcases the ruins of this historic city in the most vivid manner. The renovations of the park began in the year 1969. In 1976 the park was declared a historic park. In the year 1981, the park gained the prestigious status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park has got several distinct sites like:
The Wat Ratchaburana is another beautiful temple in the Ayutthaya Historical Park. The temple’s prang (reliquary tower) can be regarded as one of the finest in the land of Ayutthaya. It is located in the island section of the park and is located towards the north of Wat Maha That. This historical temple was founded in 1424 by King Borommarachathirat II.
Wat Maha That
The beautiful site has several amazing images and statues of Buddha. One of them being a portion of a tree which has been carved in the shape of Buddha’s face. This particular depiction of Buddha is the highlight of the Wat Maha That.
This temple is located on the west of Chao Phraya River. It is a very popular temple and a major tourist attraction for all tourists who visit Ayutthaya. The temple is reachable both by road and using the waters of Chao Phraya River. The temple was constructed in 1630 by king Prasat Thong. The name of the temple when translated in English means Temple of long reign and glorious era. The central prang (reliquary tower) of the temple is 35 m tall. The temple was used for cremating princes and princesses.
Wat Phanan Choeng
Yet another temple in the park located on the east of Chao Phraya River. The temple was built in the year 1324, which is 26 years before the inception of Ayutthaya. In the year 1407 this temple was visited by Zheng He. He bestowed gifts upon the temple upon his arrival.
Other Tourist Attractions
Apart from the Ayutthaya Historical Park, there are a few other tourist attractions as well which Ayutthaya boasts of.
Chao Phrom Market
The market is quite popular among local residents and tourists as well. It is located right next to the Pasak River on U-thong road. The market offers some great variety of food. Some great restaurants can be found in this market. The market also provides a great variety of clothes. Bargaining can be pretty handy in this market when you are up for buying clothes in this market. The market gives the proper feel of a true Thai marketplace. The market like many other Asian markets, lights up during night time and several hawkers and shops offering food, mobile phones and clothes get into business.
This a program which is located at the Royal Elephant kraal and village. This is a great place for all animal lovers and especially those who love elephants. The facility provides an opportunity to stay, live and work in an environment with Elephants. The main purpose of this project is the rehabilitation and breeding of elephants. Due to an ageing population of elephants in Thailand the project was initiated. The project began in the year 2005 and has been quite a success since then. For people who do not wish to stay and have the company of elephants for a long period can take an elephant ride of the Ayutthaya Historical Park. One can also buy food for the elephants and feed them.
So, the next time you are in Thailand and want to get a taste of some beautiful ruins, pagodas and Buddha statues, Ayutthaya is the place to go.