Wat Chaiwatthanaram was the last of the ruins that I explored in the ancient Siam capitol of Ayutthaya, Thailand, but it was definitely the most impressive. It is actually located outside of the main island that Ayutthaya is built on, and it’s towers stand tall and surprisingly well preserved on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River.
The temple dates back to 1630AD, when King Prasatthong had it built in memory of his mother. Built in the typical Khmer style, the temple has many similarities to Angkor Wat, and it is thought that it was perhaps also built to commemorate the king’s victory over Cambodia.
Wat Chaiwattanaram is rectangular in shape, with one main 35m high central prang (tower) and eight lesser prangs surrounding it, making it beautifully symmetrical.
Inside the walls of the temple is a gallery of Buddha images, with many statues lining the walls and murals and stucco artwork in the interior of the towers. After the sacking of Ayutthaya by the Burmese in 1767, the temple was used as an army camp before being left to ruin, and many of the Buddha statues and artwork have been damaged.
There are also several chedis (stupas) in the temple grounds, and there was a lot of the temple to explore. Although much of the temple is damaged like all the ruins in Ayutthaya, I found Wat Chaiwattanaram to be really well preserved considering it’s history, and it has a beautiful location on the river.
Check out this video of my exploration of Wat Chaiwattanaram:
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Have you been to Ayutthaya? What was your favourite ruin?