Wat Phanan Choeng is another Buddhist temple we visited in Ayutthaya.
Built in 1324, some 26 years before the city of Ayutthaya was officially founded, the temple must have been partly connected to early settlements in the area. These notably allegedly included a 200-strong refugee community from Song Dynasty China. The large wihan, the highest building within the temple complex, houses an immense gilded 19 meter high seated Buddha from 1334 CE. This highly revered Buddha statue is called Luang Pho Tho (Thai: หลวงพ่อโต) by Thais, and Sam Pao Kong (Thai: ซำเปากง) by Thai-Chinese. The statue is regarded as a guardian for mariners. Allegedly, prior to the destruction of Ayutthaya by the Burmese in 1767 CE, "tears flowed from the sacred eyes to the sacred navel".The statue has been restored several times in history. King Mongkut named the statue Phra Puttha Thrai Ratana Nayok after its restoration in 1854 CE.
After our stop at the Bang which was quiet and leisurely this temple was the total opposite. Since we had removed our shoes, as per standard protocol, I was terrified of getting my toes stepped upon!
One nice thing about private tours is that you get dropped right at the door/gate and then driver picks you up in the same spot.
Look at all those cables!!
I've posted this sign before but it makes me laugh. I wonder what happens if someone takes your shoes???
This temple provided a shopping area for worshippers to purchase their offerings.
This enormous golden buddha, the oldest, largest and most beautiful Buddha image of all, the Phra Chao Phananchoeng. It is 14.25 metres wide and 19 metres high, made of mortar, primed with black lacquer and covered with gold leaf.
When we entered this chamber which was packed, the monks were dressing the Buddha by passing the cloth over the heads of the worshippers. Luckily John was tall enough to get some photos.
Certain events in the Life of the Buddha are thought to have occurred on certain days. The Buddha images representing these events, are thus also associated with the days on which they occurred. People who are born on a certain day of the week, may be most interested in a Buddha image corresponding to that day.
Wat Phra Chao Phya-thai, populary known as Wat Yai Chai Mongkol, is situated to the southeast of the city. The large chedi can be seen from a great distance.
Experts believe the stupa was built even before Ayutthaya was founded. King Naresuan the Great had it restored and built some additions to commemorate his great victory in battle over the Burmese. He named it "Chai Mongkol" or "Auspicious Victory".
The main Chedi of the temple is 62.10 meters in height and was built with 28,144 tons of brick. Even though the location was prepared to bear a lot of weight, the pressure from the Chedi was enormous and it pushed away underground water until the ground underneath the Chedi became hollow. As time passed, the Chedi started to sink.
The Ubosatha Hall is the main entrance to the monastery. When Thai Buddhists visit the temple they will normally make an offering. This act is known as wai phra; wai being the traditional greeting with palms pressed together and raised towards the face and phra being the word for a Buddha image, monk or priest.
The usual offering made consists of a candle, some flowers (often a lotus), a small square of gold leaf and three incense sticks. The three incense sticks represent the Buddha, his teachings and the monastic order.
Sitting in the position of respect with feet tucked behind in order that they face away from the Buddha. After the person has offered some prayers they will often make another recital in their mind which could be a wish for good health or even good luck for selecting the lottery numbers! The incense sticks are then planted into a container of sand and the small square of gold leaf is pressed onto the Buddha image.
Visitors will apply gold leaf to the Reclining Buddha's hands and feet.
The chedi is 60 metres tall and allows visitors to climb the weathered steps and take in a magnificent view from above.
John did the climb and captured some great photos along with a selfie or two.
The view is panoramic with rows upon rows of saffron draped Buddhas. do not despair, there will be many close up photos of these!
He spotted Tom and me strolling among those Buddhas.
There's a ladder on the back!
While John had his head in the clouds, Tom and I wandered the peaceful gardens.
After one of my favourites above, I spotted this nun doing some cooking. In Thailand women cannot be monks but nuns. They wear white robes and their head is also shaved. Being a female novice is less valued than being a monk. They are often treated as temple maids doing the cooking and cleaning for monks.
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