If you have just only a day off, where will you travel to?
In case you still could not have a clue, I have one province suggesting, this province is not far from Bangkok which you are able to take a one day trip. Besides, along traveling you also could accumulate a merit for yourself too. And the province that I talk about is Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.
Well, what are the attractions in Ayutthaya? I would have to tell that most of the attractions in Ayutthaya would mostly focus on the history and Buddhism. At Ayutthaya, there are more than 500 temples and these are not included those deserted temples. Hence, I will take you guys to go worship the Buddha images, however the temple that I will choose to go in this trip would be only temples that have reclining Buddha images.
For my roughly plan that I have made will start a journey from Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, Wat Phanan Choeng Worawihan, Wat Sena Sanaram Ratchaworawihan, Wat Sam Vihan, Wat Thammikarat, Wat Na Phra Men, Wat Lokayasutharam, Wat Tuek, Wat Phanomyong, Saint Joseph Catholic Church, Wat Phutthaisawan, Wat Bang Pla Mo, Wat Pikul Sokan, Prasat Nakhon Luang, Wat Mai Ruak and in the end I will go to Wat Satue.
First of all, Let's get to know about the reclining Buddha image. "Reclining Buddha" or "Phra Saiyat" in Thailand were mostly built in the attitude called "Asurintharahu" posture in which Buddha image is in the pose of lying upside to the right with the left hand lays flat along the body and the right hand puts up to support the head and has a pillow below it, both two feet lie equally to each other.
Ps. In the end of each temples' reviews I will rate those temples by giving the star, if that temple is quiet fascinating, I will give 5 stars while 1 star for those that are less interesting. The amount of the star that I have given will indicate only the interesting level of the temple inside only, which not include its history/sacred/popular among the visitors. The amount of the star was rated from my preference only.
The first destination that I planned to go is Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon. Getting to Wat Yai is considerably convenient, from Asia street, turn left to enter Ayutthaya downtown, then continue straight until reach at Wat Sam Pruem stupa then turn left again. Continually drive straight, you will see the temple located on the left side.
I arrive at Wat Yai at 07.30am which there is not much visitors here at this moment, thus, I have time to explore around every spots for quiet some time.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon was constructed in Pre-Ayutthaya period during the reign of King U-Thong, a person who built Krung Si Ayutthaya. The interesting parts within the temple have 4 spots totally which are Vihara hall of reclining Buddha image, the main hall, Chai Mongkhon stupa and residence of King Naresuan Maharaj.
Only few steps from the parking lots, you will see the entrance. Upon walking through the entrance door, you will see the reclining Buddha hall on the left side which I would stop to go worship inside first.
Even though the reclining Buddha hall here is left just only its ruins, yet we still could imagine a picture of this hall by 2 round shape pillars that left on site which still excellently show a trace of a lotus that adorned on the top of the pillars. Moreover, the walls on the side of the head and back of Buddha image are still in a good condition better than the wall at the front of the hall.
Inside was enshrined a reclining Buddha image which was built in the reign of King Naresuan, to be used as a worship place and perform meditation. This reclining Buddha image was newly restored in 1965 by using white stucco in building. It is told that those who come to worship the Buddha image, will be loved and sheltered.
Not far from this hall, there would be an old hall that could well-remain its original structure, this Ubosot hall is used to perform meditation as well as the religious rites. Furthermore, it also used to be as an appointment place of high officials in that time. In the front is situated a lot of Buddha images and this area would be the area that allows people to light candle and incense in order to worship the Buddha image. At the back of the Buddha image is the entrance of the hall and inside this hall was enshrined the main Buddha image which is the Buddha image in the attitude of Subduing Mara and it was built with sandstone throughout its body and its robe was covered with gold leaves and decorated with glasses. I could just have to admire the beauty of this hall from outside as I have been here pretty early that the monks are still praying in the hall.
At the back of the main hall is located Chai Mongkhon stupa which is the tallest stupa in Ayutthaya. It is an overturn bell shape stupa which was built to commemorate a great victory of King Naresuan over Minyekyawswa, a crown prince of Hongsawadee Kingdom in that time.
Around the stupa was situated a lot of Buddha images.
The top of stupa is an round airy room with Buddha images situated around the area and the center of stupa has a big hole which I did not have information what the purpose of that hole is?
From the top of stupa, you could look to the main hall and a lot of Buddha images that line around the area.
There is a rule of carrying the baggage inside the temple in which it is not allowed to carry bag in the back side, but need to carry in the front side instead. I also need to respect this rule and when I carry a camera bag with me, I need to be careful when walking up and down to the high area as the bag is in the front side and it blocks my vision to see the below area while I am walking. During I walk up on the stupa, I have seen (in an eye level) that the stairs which were built by brick are considerably broken, especially in the middle of each brick is corroded as it has a hole in the middle.
As for the area of King Naresuan Maharat residence which has just been rebuilt, I didn't take a visit this time since I have been there once, Furthermore, I don't want to spend a lot of time in each place as I'm afraid the later the time is, the hotter the weather will be. For Wat Yai Chaimongkhon, I would give 5 stars as there are a lot of things to explore here.
And now since I take a visit to Wat Yai, I will not miss out to try noodles at Wat Yai as the noodles here is pretty famous.
The noodles shop is located beside Wat Yai, right next to the road.
A recommended menu would be stewed pork noodles.
They also have boat noodles too. I would say that stewed pork noodles and boat noodles here are still not right for me, it doesn't suit what they have recommended as the taste is a bit strange for me (according to my own taste only)
There is also pork satay here and it tastes just ordinary.
Another menu which is also a recommended menu is fried tofu. I have not try this menu but my friend tells me that it is delicious, yet its sauce still tastes not quite good.
Located not far from Wat Yai Chaimongkol is Wat Phanan Choeng. Although there is no reclining Buddha situated at Wat Phanan Choeng but every time I visit Ayutthaya, I will not miss out to visit this place to worship the Big Buddha which is extraordinary beautiful. This time is like every time as well that I have a chance to come worship Big Buddha.
Wat Phanan Choeng is built during Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand. The temple is located by Pasak river. The word "Phanan Choeng" is from the word "Phanang Choeng" which means meditation. Therefore Wat Phanan Choeng means temple of sitting Buddha in the attitude of Subduing Mara which is called a Big Buddha here.
When make a turn into the temple area, you will see a wide parking area and surrounding the parking area would be a lot of shops selling souvenirs. I am not interested in buying anything so that I walk straight away to a big Vihara hall which inside is enshrined the Big Buddha.
Big Buddha (Lung Phor Toh) or Phra Phuttha Trai Rattana Nayok was made from cement and covered with gold leaves in the attitude of Subduing Mara with 7wa 10inch long and the height from above to bottom is 9wa 2sok (Wa is a unit of length in Thai equal to 2 meters while sok is approximately 0.5meters). The Big Buddha is considered as the Buddha of Ayutthaya kingdom which was built since the beginning of this kingdom. According to the legend from ancient Ayutthaya people has told that when Ayutthaya is going to fail to Myanmar, there is an eye drops falling from Big Buddha's eyes down to its belly.
Not only Big Buddha is popular among Thai people but Chinese people also quiet respect in the Big Buddha. Hence, it is not strange at all if this temple has a great number of people come to worship.
Inside the Big Buddha's hall is considerably splendid. The Big Buddha itself is sparkling with gold leaves adding with the red hall that is painted in golden pattern make the place really much more excellent. Moreover, Big Buddha is considered as the biggest Buddha image in Ayutthaya as well.
Located beside Big Buddha hall is Guan Yin shrine which facing to Chao Phraya river.
Next to Guan Yin shrine is located Chao Mae Soi Dok Mak shrine, the building might looks small but it has two-storey inside.
Upon entering inside, the right hand side would be a small room where all the 108 gods are situated.
And the middle of the shrine is situated a replica statue of Chao Mae Soi Dok Mak or Chinese people called "Song Niang Niang", the statue looks very beautiful, I would say.
On the second floor is situated a replica statue of Chao Mae Soi Dok Mak as well. From my observation, the statue on the second floor looks older than the one located at the ground floor.
The painting pattern on the doors look quite fascinating.
Beside Chao Mae Soi Dok Mak shrined has a sculpture of a Chinese junk ship crafted from jade which looks very nice.
For Wat Phanan Choeng, I would give out 5 stars as the shiny Big Buddha is extraordinary beautiful and there is also Chao Mae Soi Dok Mak shrine to worship here.
Our next destination is Wat Sena Sanaram Ratchaworawihan, according to written language will be read as Sena Sanaram, yet Ayutthaya locals here will call the temple as Wat Sena instead.
Wat Sena Sanaram is an ancient temple which was established since Ayutthaya Kingdom. It originally is called Wat Sue. For the highlight of this temple would be in this transform Indra Vihear hall.
The exterior of this Vihara hall still looks new, yet upon stepping into the hall, I would say that it is like we are turn back to the ancient time with the ancient look of the painting of transform Indra Vihear, a Buddha image in the attitude of Subduing Mara that was brought from Vientiane city and the mural painting pattern which was painted since Rama IV period.
At the back of a transform Indra Vihear is located a small room which inside is situated Buddha images and birthday Buddha images as well.
And at the back side of the Vihara hall of transform Indra Vihear is the Vihara hall of reclining Buddha image.
Vihara hall of reclining Buddha image was built crosswise to Ubosot hall. Inside is situated a reclining Buddha image in Ayutthaya style which was made with stone lined up one by one and carved neatly. It is said that if one come to worship, his life will be blessed and lucky.
Another uniqueness that I have never seen in other places before is the Buddha image in the attitude of caring for a sick Buddhist monk which was called Luang Phor Phra Upathum. It is said that if one come to worship, they will be successful in everything, especially praying about aliments or asking for children, patron or mercy, and also success in works.
Inside the Vihara hall of reclining Buddha here has wall murals which is painted just only on the wall but the door also has a mural painting too. I am not sure whether the painting pattern here is made since the ancient time or not as they still look rather new, yet some part of the murals is happen to flake off as well.
Another highlight that should not be missed out when visiting this temple is its ubosot hall.
Inside ubosot hall was enshrined Phra Sam Phuttha Muni which is the principal Buddha image of this the ubosot. The ceiling and the beam lintel was painted with golden pattern of moons surrounding stars in a wooden recess twelve rectangular frame, its background is painted in red color. As for the lintel and other wooden works above the hall were painted in gold color with has an indigo background, they all looks spectacular.
Wall mural, was painted with a powder color technique, has a background and scenery. It is the painting of 12nd month royal ceremony which was made in the reign of King Rama V.
The painting of the gathering of the angels flying among the clouds which all the angles turn their faces toward the principle Buddha image.
However the highlight one would be this painting, it is a picture of King Rama IV, who restored this temple, was looking the eclipse through the telescope.
I would give 5 stars for Wat Sena Sanaram Rachaworaviharn as there are a lot of interesting spots to see including a transform Indra Vihear hall, reclining Buddha hall, Buddha image in the attitude of caring for a sick Buddhist monk which it has been my first time to see this style of Buddha image. Moreover, the mural painting inside temple's hall is pretty spectacular as well.
From Wat Sena Sanaram, we continue to Wat Sam Vihan next, which is located not far from each other.
Wat Sam Vihan has been surmised that it was built during the beginning of Ayutthaya kingdom in the reign of King Borom Rachathirat I. Originally, it was named "Wat Sam Phihan" and was changed to "Wat Sam Vihan" later on. Since there are 3 buildings in the past which are reclining Buddha hall, sitting Buddha hall and standing Buddha hall, thus, it was named Wat Sam Vihan. However, there is left only 2 buildings on site in the present which are reclining Buddha hall and sitting Buddha hall as the standing Buddha hall was damaged through time.
The first highlight point of Wat Sam Vihan here is ubosot.
Around Ubosot hall area, there are 17 large crafted Sema leaf stones lined all around the area which you could clearly see one of those Sema leaves that located in the front of Ubosot hall has holes on it, they are marks of Phraya Ram's Narai Sanghan cannonballs.
Inside Ubosot hall is situated Luang Phor Thong statue or called Phra Phuttha Suwan Nimit which is a stucco Buddha statue with a lap width 3.6 meters in Subduing Mara posture.
From in front of the Ubosot hall, you could see a large Lanka style stupa with approximately 40 meters tall.
From Ubosot hall, we could see a high shape pavilion, inside is enshrined Phra Phuttha Nimit Pichitman or called Luang Phor Khao. It is a Buddha statue is made of stucco in the attitude of Subduing Mara with 4.6 meters lap-width.
And from most inside area close to high shape pavilion, you could see Vihara hall of reclining Buddha statue.
Inside Vihara hall is situated reclining Buddha made of stucco in Sukhothai style, it is an over 600 years old Buddha statue with 21 meters long. It is said that if one come to worship this Buddha statue, they will be blessed with lucky.
For Wat Sam Vihan, I would give out 3 stars then.
From Wat Sam Vihan, let's continue to Wat Thammikarat, originally named Wat Mukkharat. This temple was built before the founding of Ayutthaya and it is assumed it was built in the same period as Wat Phanan Choeng Worawihan. Later, the Vihara hall was built inside which, from the history told that this Vihara hall, was built by Queen of King Borommatrailokkanat as she made a wish that if her daughter gets well from the illness, she will build the Vihara hall for reclining Buddha statue.
From parking lots walking toward the temple area, you would see hall of reclining Buddha situated on the left where Phra Phutta Thammikka Racha Maharach Udom has been enshrined. It is a cement Buddha statue with approximately 12 meters long and in the middle of its feet has a stucco wheel shape curve out which has been built according to Mahaburis idea.
It is said that one who come to pay homage to this Buddha image, he or she will be blessed and healthy.
On the right, was situated bronze Buddha's head statue in U-Thong art style. From the information I have learned, this Buddha's head statue has still not known where it comes from? when it was built? was it seating or standing Buddha? and did it originally belongs to the Buddha statue in Wat Thammikkarach? and there is still no one knows the answer until now.
A round shape stupa which has a stucco Singh statues surround it, this kind of stupa is hard to be found nowadays. There are 20 Singh statues in total, some are in good condition, some are damage through times as it is over 900 years already. This kind of Singh sculpture could still be found in another place which is Wat Mae Nang Pruem. Moreover, we also could see this kind of sculpture in the North part of Thailand such as Sukhothai and Kumpamgpetch, but the sculpture will be elephant instead.
Near to the round shape pagoda is a giant principle Vihara hall. Although the structure of this hall doesn't has a combination of steel at all, but it still pretty strong as it was made of mortar shell mixed with sugar cane syrup. This Vihara hall used to enshrine a principle Buddha statue which is a large size bronze Buddha statue, nevertheless, it was burnt by Burmese's troop during the war, and left only its head part which was kept in Chao Sam Phraya National Museum in the present.
Located beside the Vihara hall is Ubosot hall which inside was enshrined pure white Buddha statue in the attitude of Subduing Mara, it is assumed that it was built during Pre-Rattanakosin period.
Well, I will give out 4 stars for Wat Thammikarat.
Next we continue visit Wat Naphramen, this temple doesn't has reclining Buddha situated, yet the reason that I decide to visit this place is because of the beauty of its principle Buddha statue.
During Ayutthaya period, Wat Na Phra men was not burnt or received any damage because Burmese's troop has use this temple as their command base. Therefore, this temple has still well-reflected the Ayutthaya architecture and it is considrered as a temple that has the most perfect condition in Ayutthaya.
The interesting point of this temple is its Ubosot hall, originally there is an ancient murals inside the hall, yet it has been covered with the stucco from renovation. Inside is enshrined Phra Phuttha Nimit Wichit Man Moli Si Sanphet Borom Trai Lokkanat which is a Buddha statue that made of bronze, covered with stucco and finished with gilding. The decorated Buddha image is in the attitude of Subduing Mara, dressed in King costume during Ayutthaya period, it is regarded as one of the giant Buddha images that looks very spectacular and I would suggest you guys should not miss out to come and worship.
Close to the main hall is Phra Wihan Sanphet hall. Inside is enshrined Buddha image in Dvaravati period named Khantharat which made of bricks (green bricks) in the sitting posture with legs hanging down. It is believed that the Buddha image was moved from Wat Mahathat in Koh Muang. Well, inside the hall also has the mural painting that looks quite ancient.
Phra Wihan Luang hall is a place where a 800-year-old Buddha image in a walking gesture in Lopburi period is situated.
Luang Phor Khao hall is located at the back of the main hall and until now this hall is over 500 years old.
At the front of Luang Phor Khao hall has a big Bodhi tree and if we look closely, we could find that a head of Buddha image is covered by Bodhi tree similar like the one in Wat Mahathat, only that a head of Buddha image here looks much newer.
I would give 5 stars for Wat Na Phra Meru because of the beauty of Phra Phuttha Nimit Wichit Man Moli Si Sanphet Borom Trai Lokkanat and Phra Khanthararat that nowadays it is hard to see these two postures of Buddha image which I feel it is very worth a visit.
Next, we will continue our trip to Wat Lokkayasutharam, but on the way we have passes by Wat Worachettharam, hence, we will stop by and go worship inside.
Wat Worachettharam is one of the important temples in Ayutthaya. According to the royal chronicle states that this temple is the place where the remain of King Naresuan Maharat was burnt. Inside the temple wall includes the main stupa in Lanka-Sukhothai style, three vihara halls, one Ubosot hall and two small stupas that are decorated with a small recess located on the same base with Ubosot hall. It is believed that the relics of King Naresuan Maharat was kept inside one of these stupas. Well, for Wat Worachettharam, I would give 2 stars.
From the back of Wat Worachettharam, we could see reclining Buddha of Wat Lokayasutharam in a distance.
Nowadays, Wat Lokayasutharam has left only structure of the giant building, we could see the bade of 9 rooms giant size vihara hall, the large size principle Buddha image that remains only its base at the back of Ubosot hall to be seen. Moreover, there are also a giant 30-meter-height stupa and the sacred wall that surrounds temple's area. It is assumed that this temple was built in Pre-Ayutthaya period and it was burnt during the war.
The remaining thing that still left at the site and it is in complete condition would be a reclining Buddha which is situated in open-air, outside a curved terrace at the back of the temple. The Buddha statue was made of bricks and motor, its uniqueness is its head that was supported by overlapping lotus flowers instead of the pillow. It is a 42-meter long and 8-meter high Buddha statue, its feet place overlap to each other in right angle and its toes have an equal length. It is said that if one come to worship this reclining Buddha statue, they will be blessed.
At the opposite side of the reclining Buddha statue, the local governor of Ayutthaya province has arranged to be a parking lots and souvenir shops, hence, after finish paying a homage inside, you could buy some souvenirs back home as well.
For this temple, Wat Lokayasutharam, I would rate 3 stars then.
Then, we will continue our journey to Wat Tuek which located not far from Wat Lokayasutharam.
Highlight inside the temple would be Maha-Ut hall which has a single way in and out with no window inside. Outside has pictures of renowned ancient Buddhist monks and Katyayana monk. Inside has a Subduing Mara Buddha statue on a beautifully decorated plaster base which was surrounded by Buddha statues in many postures such as the attitude of stopping the rain storm, the attitude of standing , the attitude of Subduing Mara and etc.
Phra Chao Suea pavillon was situated a statue of Somdet Phra Chao Suea who is the 29th King of Ayutthaya.
In front of the pavilion was enshrined a reclining Buddha statue in the attitude of Nirvana. For this Wat Tuek, I would give out 3 stars.
Next, we continue heading to Wat Phanomyong or Wat Mae Nom Yong (Mae Nom means wet nurse). The name of this temple was named after the name of King's wet nurse during Ayutthaya period. Formerly, this place is a garden of Yong wet nurse who is a good, honest, hard-working person who has accomplished all work that has been assigned, hence, she became the King's favorite in those days. Later, when she passed away, the King in that time has granted this garden to use as the monastery and built the temple inside then named it Mae Nom Yong for that the merit of building the temple will fall to Mae Nom Yong.
The interesting thing inside the temple area is a spectacular average size junk boat shape Ubosot hall in Late Ayutthaya period style.
Inside has fascinating murals, but it is murals in the new era, not the ancient murals.
Another interesting spot is Vihara hall of a giant stucco reclining Buddha statue with the style seems to built in Sukhothai style as its has spiral hair. For those who come to worship the statue, it is said that they will be lucky and recover from illness.
Well, I would give out 2 stars for Wat Phanom Yong.
Now as we have traveled around to many places, we better take a rest and find something to eat first. This meal I would recommend Phak Whan Noodles that located in front of Wat Suwan Dararam, you guys could park right away at the parking lots of the temple.
Inside the cuisine has an air-conditioning room and open air area. As the weather is rather hot today, I would rather choose to dine in an air-conditioning room.
As we come to Phak Whan Noodles cuisine (Phak Whan means Sweet Lettuce), thus, we should definitely order Phak Whan Noodles. This cuisine would serve Chicken Noodles and Seafood Noodles and the first menu that I order is Chicken Noodles with Phak Whan, it tastes delicious, I would say.
Next dish that I have ordered is Tom Yam Goong Noodles Soup, it has a rich taste that I don't have to add up more flavor.
I would recommend you guys do not miss out to order Fried Mushroom as well, it is quite tasty, it is good to have it as an appetizer while waiting for noodles.
Pad Thai with shrimp and sweet leaves is also a good choice for those who are not prefer noodles soup.
The last menu is Sour and Spicy Phak Whan. Batter-fried sweet lettuce served with sour and spicy sauce which shrimp and squid inside, the sauce tastes sour and spicy which it is just right for me.
Coming in this cuisine, you guys would have to be patient a bit as the food will be served a bit slow because there are a lot of people here.
Now that we are full already, we will continue our journey to next destination which is Wat Phutthaisawan, yet during the way to my next destination, I have came across a signboard to Saint Joseph Catholic church, thus, I will stop by for a bit.
St. Joseph Catholic church was constructed during King Narai Maharat reign. Even though this place looks a bit old not like churches in Chanthaburi and Ratchaburi, yet for my perspective, I think an ancient look has a great charm in itself. The building of this church was painted in yellow color with white architrave, therefore, when the colors of the church contrast with the blue sky, it looks magnificent.
The church inside is spectacular not less than outside.
On both sides of the altar are a tomb of Bishop Pierre Lambert de la Motte and Bishop Louis Laneau (their bodies are buried under a stained glass at the altar area.
Well, I would give out 3 stars for St. Joseph Catholic church.
We spend time here for a while, then we continue our journey to Wat Phutthai Sawan which located next to the church.
Wat Phutthai Sawan is a large royal monastery and one of the renowned temples in Ayutthaya period. The legend goes that King U-Thong built this temple inside his residence area when he moved to this place before founding Ayutthaya Kingdom. Moreover, this temple is one of temples that was not burnt by Burmese's troop during the war, it might be because this temple is located off the Ayutthaya city island.
When I step inside the temple, I feel that the area of the temple was divided into 2 zones which first zone is a newly restoration zone and another zone is a zone of ancient sites.
Newly restoration zone will be at the front area, the first interesting spot is a memorial monument of five Kings. The abbot of this temple has built this area for young generation to worship and recall the goodness of the first King of Ayutthaya Kingdom who built Wat Phutthai Sawan (King U-Thong), King who liberated the country (King Naresuan Maharat) and his brother King Ekathotsarot, King Taksin Maharat and King Rama V.
At the back of five Kings monument is a sermon hall which is a place where Luang Phor Dum situated. It is a sacred large size Buddha image in Subduing Mara gesture, built by stucco and painted with black color and has an oval shape face in U-Thong style or Pre-Ayutthaya period style. It is believed that this Buddha image is built along with the construction of this main hall. Moreover, it is said that one who come to worship this Buddha image would recover from sickness and fulfill a wish for those who wish to have a baby.
Next to a sermon hall is located a pavilion of Somdet Phra Buddha Kosachan which is a residence for a senior Buddhist monk. The pavilion was made by 2 layers of brick-concrete with the curved base in the late Ayutthaya style and the ground floor bay windows were built in Western style. On the upper floor has wall mural paintings telling the story of jataka tales (Ten great birth stories of the Buddha), Trailokya (Three worlds) and the legend of Somdet Phra Phuttha Kosajarn travel to brink back Buddha's footprint from Lanka. Nowadays, most of wall mural paintings are rather fade away.
Walk a little further is a location of the ubosot hall which was already renovated. Outside of this ubosot has been surrounded with big stone Sema leaves which located on the stucco lotus base and below is the Singha base. Inside the ubosot hall is enshrined three Buddha statues in Ayutthaya style.
As for the ancient site zone, we could see a big principle stupa and minor stupas inside.
When walking into the ancient site zone, the area around the principle stupa was surrounded by curved terrace which is enshrined stucco Buddha statues throughout its way.
The principle stupa was built in Khmer style which located at the middle of the temple area. Both sides of the principle stupa were locate 2 Mondop pavilions which are called left side and right side Mondop Phra Palat.
Inside Mondop Phra Palat was enshrined a stucco Buddha statue, I think it seems like Manuha temple in Bagan, Myanmar as there is a pretty large Buddha statue that its size was tight-fitting to its hall that Burmese people called it "tight-fitting Buddha" which is similar to the Buddha statue here as it has a large tight-fitting size as well, only that its size is smaller than the one in Myanmar.
Outside a curved terrace, you could see a big size minor stupas.
When looking back, we could see the principle stupa
Beside the principle stupa is located a hall of reclining Buddha. Some parts of the wall are damaged and the structure of the roof is completely ruined which could not to be seen on the site. Inside the hall was enshrined reclining Buddha in Pre-Ayutthaya style. The dominant aspects of Buddha statue which is different from reclining Buddha in other temples are that its feet were placed overlap to each other which it is an initial solving way to make the posture of Buddha statue to be like human posture. Its upper arm and arm that fold and place flat to the front and its hand turns up to support its head is a popular form of reclining Buddha statue since Dvaravati, Lopburi, U-Thong period which is different from the reclining Buddha statue in Sukhothai style that could be found at Ayutthaya city island. The Sukhothai style reclining Buddha statue is usually put its arm up and turn up its hand to support its head on the pillow.
It is said that those who pay homage to this reclining Buddha, he or she would be blessed and succeed in their works.
Well, I will give out 4 stars for Wat Phutthaisawan.
From here, I head to Wat Bang Pla Mor which is located in Bang Ban district.
Wat Bang Pla Mor is an ancient temple since Ayutthaya period. After a second siege of Ayutthaya, this temple became a deserted temple. Later, during King Rama V period, Luang Phu Sun, the first abbot of this temple in Rattanakosin period has constructed a reclining Buddha and named it "Mongkol Sanpetch reclining Buddha". This reclining Buddha was originally enshrined by Noi river, therefore, during the raining season, the reclining Buddha usually was flooded in the water almost every year. Up until Luang Phor Wat Pak Nam-Wat Phasi Charoen came to know the condition, hence, he has brought together locals and lead them to take a reclining Buddha up from the riverside to enshrine at this place until now.
Moving reclining Buddha statue in that time has caused a damage to it which makes people found out that inside the structure of the statue consisted of several tumblers. Thus, when moving the statue, the tumblers which located inside are all broken, left only its head and arm parts, other parts need to rebuild with bricks and mortar and finish with brass again, as we could see in this day.
It is said worshipping this Buddha statue will bring lucky and rich to you.
What I would like to express about this temple is that when I drive to the temple inside, I am trembling a bit somehow as the condition of the temple looks scary, seem like the temple doesn't receive proper caring. Moreover, there are teenagers who look kind of dangerous inside the temple. I think this is the first temple that I feel not quite safe, but it might be nothing, only the feeling of me.
In conclusion, for Wat Pla Mor, I would rate 1 star since there is only one interesting spot which is its reclining Buddha statue and the atmosphere of the temple doesn't seem safe.
From Wat Pla Mor, I continue to Wat Phikul Sokan whihc is located in the same district, Bang Ban district.
Wat Phikul Sokhan is an ancient temple since Ayutthaya period in the reign of King Somdet Phra Phetracha. It is stated that Wat Phikul Sokhan has never been left deserted, even when the siege of Ayutthat Kingdom. This temple considerably flourished in the reign of King Rama V.
When the time I travel there, the ubosot hall is closed, yet at the back of ubisoft hall has small vihara halls which inside was situated several Buddha statues.
Beside the main hall is a hall that has a reclining Buddha situated inside.
During that time, Luang Phor Pan is the abbot of the temple, he is a renowned monk who locals have great respect in. He built this reclining Buddha in 1910 and named it as Phra So Khan or local people usually call Luang Phor So, it is a large size reclining Buddha with the total length of 20 Wa, width of 4 Wa and height of 4 Wa (Thai tradition length unit, equal to 2 meters). Moreover, the construction of this reclining Buddha spend totally 3 years and finished in 1913. Local people respect in its sacred and believe that if one could come to worship, they would be blessed with lucky and success.
I would give 2 stars for Wat Phikul Sokhan then.
From Bang Ban district, my next destination is Tha Rua district, but I will take a stop over at Prasart Nakhon Luang at Nakhon Laung district before, as I have heard of the renowned name of Prasart Nakhon Luang for quiet some time, but still don't have a chance to visit.
Prasart Nakhon Luang is located in Wat Nakhon Luang area with a road that uses as a separated line between Wat Nakhon Luang and Prasart Nakhon Luang. Tourist could park a car inside Wat Nakhon Luang.
From Wat Nakhon Luang, when walk across the road toward Prasart Nakhon Luang, it gives a feeling like we are walking back in time as the environment around me is lack of proper care, moreover, the atmosphere is so silent that I feel desolate somehow.
When walk a bit further inside, there is a small hall located on the mound standing eminently, this hall is called Wihan Phra Jan Loi.
Inside the main hall is situated a lot of Buddha images including a round shape stone called "Phra Jan Loi" (meaning floating moon) which has 2 meters diameter and 30 centimeters thickness. It is assumed that it is built to be a stone of Wheel of Dhamma but the construction is not completed. The legend tells that it drift on the water from Northern part of Pa Sak river to Wat Nakhon Luang. Later, a monk of Wat Thep Jan brought it to enshrine at Wat Thep Jan, then Phra Khu Wihan Kijjanukarn has built a main hall and brought this "floating moon" stone back to enshrine at Wat Nakhon Luang since 1899 until present.
From a floating moon stone hall, continue walking a bit, a right hand side would be a main hall of this temple. However, it is closed during I visit, thus, I could only watch from the outside.
When I take a walk further a bit, I see a large palace located in the middle of the area. I promptly feel stunned somehow, I could hardly believe that Prasart Nakorn Luang that I have heard of will full of a lot of interesting things like this.
Prasart Nakorn Luang was constructed in the reign of King Prasart Thong by ordering the workman to copy a plan of Prasart Muang Phra Nakorn Luang of Cambodia, yet, the construction is not completed in that time. Later, around 1809 year, Ta Pa Khao Pin has built Prasart Nakorn Luang inside the temple area and then built footprint of Buddha and enshrined at the top floor of the palace. This palace was built to be a religious place of Buddhism.
Prasart Nakornluang has totally 3 floors which second floor has an arch terrace surrounding, each side of an arch terrace is situated stupas in four directions as well as in the middle area. Inside stupas are situated Buddha images which turn their faces to each other. However, some stupas have no Buddha image situated inside anymore.
A top part of the palace is a yellow Mondop pavilion which inside was situated four footprints of Buddha. Ta Pa Khao Pin has built it in the same time with Wat Nakorn Luang. Four overlay footprints of Buddha crafted deep into the stone.
Around the modop pavilion is a curve terrace which inside was enshrined a lot of Buddha statues as well.
It doesn't make me feel disappointed at all in intending to visit Prasart Nakorn Luang.
Thus, I would give out 4 stars for Prasart Nakorn Luang.
Next, from Prasart Nakorn Luang, I head straight to Tha Rua district which my first destination in this district is Wat Mai Ruak.
Wat Mai Ruak or local people called Wat Ruak was built in Ayutthaya period and has been restored in the reign of King Rama III. Looking from the outside, this temple seems pretty ancient and mystical.
There is a mural painting inside the old main hall which is a work of the artist in King Rama III reign during Rattanakosin period. Badly, the building is closed when I take a visit there.
The opposite side of the old main hall that has a reclining Buddha image situated in the wall area, a Buddha image has 7 meters length. It is said that if one come to worship, one will be blessed, lucky and healthy.
For Wat Mai Ruak, I would give 2 stars.
I end this reclining Buddha trip at Wat Satue, which is also located in Tha Rua district.
Wat Satue was built in the reign of King Rama V, originally it was called Wat Tha Ngarm and was changed its name later to Wat Satue as there is a large Satue tree growing by the river in front of the temple.
Inside the temple is situated Luang Phor Toh, an outdoor large size Buddha image, it was constructed by Somdej Phutthajarn Toh Promrangsri and was using bricks and mortar for building. As I have explored for more than 10 temples, it is rather obviously for me to say that there are a lot of people come to worship Luang Phor Toh. For those who make a wish with Luang Phor Toh and their wishes are fulfilled, they would come back and take Khanom Chin (Rice Noodles) to fulfill their vows. Well, why it has to be Khanom Chin? because it is believed that during the construction period of this Buddha image, Khanom Chin was always made to give out to all worker. Moreover, the legend has it that if one comes to worship Luang Phor Toh, one could be safe and chase all the badness as well as be blessed and lucky.
Inside the main hall of Maha Ut which is located close to Luang Phor Toh is the place where many Buddha images were situated and that also includes the ancient head part of Luang Phor Toh as well. Thus, if you guys come to worship Luang Phor Toh here, don't miss out a chance to see the ancient head part of Luang Phor Toh.
Since there are a lot of people come to worship Luang Phor Toh of Wat Satue which lead to the problem of the parking lots space. Yet, in the front area of the temple, there are private parking lots for service as well. Moreover, both sides from the parking lots till the area of temple's hall are filled with shops which could rather add the lively atmosphere to the temple. Therefore, when you finish worshipping the Buddha image, don't forget to buy something as a souvenir back home.
For Wat Satue, I would give out 3 stars then.
I don't know what does "merit" look like? don't know when we could get the good things back when we make a merit. For this journey on the Dharma route, even though I am exhausted from the journey to a lot of temples, but the thing that I could receive back after this trip was end is that I feel content that I could go worshipping the revered things that the Buddhist like us has believed for a long time. If you guys have a spare time, you could try to visit Ayutthaya, travel to feel the land of Buddhist morality and I believe that everyone would definitely also feel content and heart warming like me.
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