Wat Chai Wattanaram – Ayutthaya, Thailand
Built in 1630 by King Prasat Thong, Wat Chai Wattanaram stands on the southwest corner of the city moat surrounding Ayutthaya, Thailand. The reason for its construction varies depending on source, but regardless of intent, the structure is spectacular. Wat Chai Wattanaram’s main prang stands 35 meters high and is surrounded by twelve smaller prangs representing different Buddhist cosmology beliefs. Buddhist statues and paintings layer the three sets of castle-like walls. In the initial years after its creation, the temple served as a cremation site for the royal Thai family and as the official royal monastery. In 1767 the invading Burmese sacked and transformed Wat Chai Wattanaram into a war camp, and the years that followed looting and pillaging destroyed many of the Buddha statues and paintings.
Structures like this are one of the many reasons I love traveling outside the United States. No amount of picture or video can do these sites justice. Walking through corridors where kings laid their sons to rest and sitting on steps where the blood of hundreds was split can never accurately be retold, but must, at best, be attempted.
Cengiz Yar Jr.