Wat Chaiwattanaram

Yet another impressive old monument in the World Heritage Site of Ayuthaya: the Wat Chaiwattanaram.

Ayuthaya was ruled by 33 kings of five dynasties and some among them have built Wats in honor of their beloved ones or to signify a victory in war. Many of those Wats have withstood the test of time. Walking through the ruins of those Wats gave me goose pimples to think how the place would have once reverberated with life. There must have been music, hymns and chants of priests echoing in these places, the kings walked through these same corridors centuries back; can I faintly hear the music, the King’s footsteps? Ruins never cease to excite me.

Wat Chaiwattanaram was built in 1629 by King Prasat Tong, on the site of his mother’s cremation. It was a gift from a son to his mother. The place reminded me of Taj of Deccan which too was built for the same sentiments. From a distance, the huge prangs seemed to beckon. There was a tall one (35m) in the center of a courtyard with chapels in four corners and smaller prangs in between them.

Along the inner walls of the courtyard were seated Buddha images in a line, most of them damaged and broken at the neck. How would you feel walking through these corridors with head less Buddha images lined in one side? There were 120 Buddha images in the attitude of Maravijaya (victory over Mara, the evil one.) along the gallery.

The chapels had crowned Buddha images, the ceilings were black. Were they the signs of fire that damaged this monastery? The King and his descendants performed religious rites here. The complex was also used as a cremation site for the princes, princesses and other royal members of the family.

In 1767 A.D. Ayuthaya the capital of Thailand was besieged by Burmese invaders and the Wat became an army camp. After the mighty empire of Ayuthaya fell, the Wat was abandoned. Soon the inhabitants around were looting the Wat, damaging the statues and were removing the bricks for various purposes. In 1987 the conservation of Wat was taken up by the Fine Arts Dept. and the work was competed in 1992. It is maintained very beautifully today.

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35 Responses to “Wat Chaiwattanaram

  • Wow… Its a very different architechture… Lovely place.. Great pics…
    Ruins have the haunting melody of the place humming by in the atmosphere. Isn't it Indrani…??

    Lovely pic… Imagine, in comparison to its size, the biggest forts built by humans are proportionately small…

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  • Having lived in such a "young" country all my life, I never cease to be amazed by the incredible history and beauty of such ancient times in other countries! You take us on such fantastic tours of those in your world and I'm so glad that I can at least enjoy them through your photos and your words! Thank you, Indrani!

    Enjoy your week!


  • The complex is amazing and so beautiful.

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  • It certainly is impressive and very beautiful. What a tragedy that it was looted, damaged and unvalued in the years before it became a World Heritage Site.

  • Yet another lovely post and great captures Indrani. Love the first shot.

  • How wonderful! I really need to save and save to afford a trip to India to see all these glorious relics for myself.

    Thanks for sharing and whetting my appetite.

  • What a beautiful place and an interesting post. I'm glad that it was saved and is maintained now. Such a shame when places like that are looted.

  • These ruins are in pretty good shape – wonderful photos. Love the headless buddhas. What an amazing and beautiful place.

  • You've captured this heritage site really well. Thank you..

  • Amazing depiction and capturing of this wonderful place….great going Indra

  • thank you for the superb post on Wat Chaiwattanaram

  • The structure of the Wats is very beautiful. It is very sad that some of them have been damaged like images of Buddha.

  • One of my fondest dream is to visit Thailand, learn its culture and see the ruins and old architecture. Your photos have shown us a glimpse of a beautiful country!

    Have a great week!

  • great post on Wat Chaiwattanaram. Amazing heritage too. This is one place I have to do. it's not so far from KL!!

  • Woow….I have never imagined Thailand such a wonderful place…
    What an architecture………!!!
    But its s o sad that they are not taking proper care of the monuments.

  • Magnificent! Oh – to have lived there way back when…

  • This is truly a fantastic place!
    I have to go and see it!

    It's sad to see those Buddha's heads were looted…
    Maybe we've got some in the British Museum?!

  • I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed your visits to the Wats. Thank you!

  • Stairway to heaven was most excellent and stone texture too. Black ceilings always feel like a bad idea to me but I can see why it´s black.

  • Very interesting post on Wat Chaiwattanaram. This monument is really wonderful, I'd like so much to see it in person. Very nice pictures, Indrani.

  • my my…. when i go through the photographs and your journal, i feel so bad that i could not be there. anyways am happy that i could enjoy them through your notes and pics.

    cheers, roxy

  • I'm so glad you did Ayutthaya on your blog. I wrote about Bangkok in brief n my latest blog and mentioned that I'd do Ayutthaya some time later but your pictures and descriptions are much better indeed! Safe and Happy travels!

  • That is amazing. Your photos leave me breathless.

  • You have succeeded in making me rue that we did not visit Ayuthya on our visit to Bangkok. Lovely pictures. And did you climb up those steep steps?

  • Thanks for the nice post and lovely pictures. The best time to see the temple is around sunset and that too from Chao Phraya river.

  • Ruins never cease to excite me, too ! Thank goodness, Ayutthya, after rack and ruin due to battles and Time, is today conserved well.

  • Amazingly beautiful….great post!

  • I wish I went with you. I only went to Bangkok and visited the temples there.

  • Hi Indrani! This post is stupendous! Ayutthaia is fabulous and has a particular meaning for the Portuguese. We were the first Europeans to settle in Siam. We settled in Ayutthaya in 1511 and developed a set of fortified outposts from Goa to Macau. The Portuguese were the main foreign community and the ruling elite in Siam spoke Portuguese for diplomatic and trade purposes… Have to go there… ;))

    Blogtrotter just finished Bilbao 2008. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

  • Wow!!
    Very unique shots today !!
    Your post is AMAZING 🙂

    Have a nice weekend

  • what I found that this beautiful place has been well-maintained.

  • Great pictures- as good as ever.

  • Great post – I'd love to go there one day. The line of headless buddhas made me sad. Who would do that! I guess we know – those giant buddha statues in Afghanistan were blown up in our time. There have always been those that create, and those that destroy!

  • Lovely pics and the writing makes it more true.."There must have been music, hymns and chants of priests echoing in these places, the kings walked through these same corridors centuries back; can I faintly hear the music, the King’s footsteps?"
    "How would you feel walking through these corridors with head less Buddha images lined in one side? "
    Makes it much more than a travelogue.. I can feel the person viewing all this.. you certainly make me want to see Thailand

  • beautufull shoots

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