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Photographer's Note

Wat Chai Watthanaram was one of the grandest and most monumental ruins of Ayutthaya. The construction of the monastery may have taken 20 years to complete as a gold tablet buried behind a Buddha image in one of the spired roof halls was inscribed: “Auspicious occasion in Maha Sakarat 572 (1649 AD), Wednesday of the 4th month, 15th day of the waxing moon, year of the dog with number two ending, firstly established.” In the Historical Account written by Van Vliet, in the passage referring to 1637-8, he mentions “the King’s temple . . . under construction” indicating that at that time the construction work was still ongoing.

Since the reign of King Prasat Thong all Ayutthayan Kings would regularly make pilgrimages to this sanctuary and attend royal funerals. In the last Burmese war with Ayutthaya (1764-1767), the site may have been used as a stronghold as witnessed by
the reinforcement of the walls and the surviving remains of cannons and cannon balls. After the destruction of Ayutthaya by the Burmese in 1767, the temple was deserted, prey for the jungle and looters for 220 years. It was restored between 1987 -92.

Its size and construction reminds me a lot of the great Mayan temples at Tikal in Guatemala.

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Additional Photos by Chris Chafer (sandpiper) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 767 W: 87 N: 1198] (6788)
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