Wat Ratchaburana, Ayuthaya, Thailand
The last Wat that I visited in Ayuthaya, Wat Ratchaburana, a fifteenth century Wat seemed to be in a very good condition. The statues of Buddha in standing gesture at each grotto of the prang were in good condition. The statues of Garuda( a mythical bird) and Nagas(serpent) were intact. I had a happy time clicking and freezing the sculptural delights of fifteenth century.
The Wat, we were told was built by King Boromaraja II, to hold the remains of his elder brothers who died fighting each other – on elephant back in a battle – over who would succeed their father to rule the great Ayuthaya empire. Two Chedis now stand at the place of cremation of the brothers.
In 1957 looters dug into the main prang and stole the treasures and valuable materials. The local police there later retrieved them. If only the looters channelised their talents of treasure hunting to become good archeologists! More digging took place after that and a lot of ancient valuables including royal regalia made of gold and precious stones were found. They are on display at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum in Ayuthaya. The photos of the items were on display inside the tower of the prang. In the lower storey of the tower there were murals on the wall which are not very clear.
The contrast in the landscape around was very much evident in the view from the top. The ruins against the modern buildings that have come up around was a great sight. It was like standing in a fifteenth century time frame and watching the developments of twenty first century around. And I just didn’t want to come out of the frame then.