Former Thai Capital

Trip Start Nov 05, 2007
1
26
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Trip End Jun 22, 2008


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Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, January 26, 2008

Some history to set the prospect on this entry: In their race to reach the Gulf of Thailand, 3 rivers converge to form the island of Ayuthaya, the former Thai capital. The rivers formed both a natural barrier to invasion and an invitation to trade. From 1350 to 1767 (as you can see many years before America got started), the city was the cultural center of the emerging Thai nation. After persistent attacks by the Burmese, the city fell and the royal family fled to near-by present day Bangkok. As always with war, to the "victor goes the spoils" and the city was looted of its architectural and religious treasures.
 
Today, the city is a Unesco World Heritage site (yes, another one on our trip!) with historic temples scattered throughout this once magnificent city. The ruins are divided into 2 areas: ruins "on the island" (which we rented bikes to ride around to see) and "off the island" (which we took a sunset boat ride).
 
As you can see there are images of Buddha everywhere, each in a different style. We stopped at the Historical Study Center which addressed the history of the city and Buddha "postures". The following is short list for your information:
 
Reclining - exact moment of Buddha's enlightenment.
Sitting - if right hand is pointed toward the earth "subduing the demons of desire; hands on lap turning the wheel of law".
Standing - bestowing blessing.
Walking - after his return to earth from heaven.

We found a great little Guesthouse called "Tony's Place", which seems to be the hub for tourists to either stay or eat at the open air bar and restaurant. I meet Tony who is Thai, but studied in the U.S. for 10 years and then returned to his native country. He asked me where we were from in America and I said Washington, DC, finding out he is a big Redskins fan and we talked football for a while. Never know where you will find a Washington Redskins fan!
 
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