Numerous Lord Buddha statues were burnt and beheaded during the Burmese war. People believe that the Burmese were looking for gold stored within these statues or around the temple. You sometimes hear that the Buddhist statues were plastered with cement to keep the Burmese from robbing the gold that was inside. The centuries old statues and the destroyed parts lie all over the temple.
This Lord Buddha statue sits before a group of religious disciples most of the smaller statues can be seen without heads. For the sake of history it is hoped that the detached parts of these statues were later moved to museums across the country. A vast temple complex like the one at Wat Maha That is not easy to secure, it also remains exposed to the vagaries of the climate. Heat, rain and winds hit these temple ruins each year and will gradually take their toll.
A priceless photograph, the head of Lord Buddha within the branches and roots of a very old tree. This probably is one of the many destroyed statues within the Ayuthaya temple. The head fell within the precints of the tree which then grew to embrace it. Thousands of Thais worship this site each year and for foreign visitors to Thailand, it is an amazing sight. The huge tree not only holds the Lord Buddha head but also covers a part of the temple wall.
One of the deserted isles in the Ayuthaya temple ruins. Centuries ago monks and temple attendants probably walked around these isles in meditation. Today there is not much of a temple atmosphere here, it is regarded as one of the very interesting places to visit in Thailand. Since Ayuthaya is not very far from the city of Bangkok, a morning to evening trip to the province is worthwhile. There are many temples in this province, many of them still in good condition.
Not many Buddha statues in the Wat Maha That temple of Thailand remain in such good condition. A tall standing Buddha statue in a recessed slot on the temple wall. This is not one of those bright gold painted Buddha statues that you see in other temples around Thailand, but religiously and historically a very important statue. It is not clear how the brick structure throughout these temple ruins will withstand climatic changes including wind and rain over the next few decades. Since the whole temple complex is outdoors and very huge, protecting it is not an easy task.
A an amazing view from inside the temple ruins in Ayuthaya. The temple was burnt down and destroyed during the war but, it is not hard to imagine how grand and important the Wat Maha That temple in Ayuthaya was for the country. A massive structure of bricks and cements, it seems both like a fort and like a gigantic religious institution. Visions rush through your mind of Thai and Burmese warriors fighting hand to hand battles in the temple premises. It was probably both greed and anger that drove the Burmese to rummage this religious place.
As the sun sets in Ayuthaya, shadows encroach on the temple complex. This photograph shot at the perfect angle shows the still Buddha statue infront of his numerous disciples. None of the destroyed heads of these statues can be seen in the vicinity of the temple. We do hope that they have not been taken away by antique hunters but instead, safely preserved in museums for future generations to see.
It is hard to imagine that all these images were taken within one temple complex. The Wat Maha That temple in Ayuthaya was one of the very important religious establishments in the country. It is not clear whether the Burmese destruction was aimed at looting the temple wealth or done to mentally destabilize the Thai warriors. The mindless destruction of war between two Buddhist nations is confusing to many historians.
This surely was an important entrance into the temple complex, the central portion that can be seen through the entrance stands tall even though in ruins. The Ayuthaya province sees large scale flooding during each rainy season. This is bound to weaken the temple structure and probably loosen the brick construction with which the entire temple complex is built. While no one is sure how long the structure can remain standing, it is the right time to visit these amazing temple ruins in Thailand.
Evening descends on the temple in Ayuthaya, this was one of the last few photographs taken by the team as we walked out of the Wat Maha That temple. The structure on the right is inclined and we have no idea when and how this happened. It is unlikely that it stood at that angle for over two centuries. Rain water flooding is common in Ayuthaya every year, this probably has caused part of the land under the structure to cave in. A row of Buddhist statues destroyed by the war can be seen along the right wall in the image.
Ayuthaya province in Thailand is not far away from Bangkok. A full days trip is a good idea, an old palace, numerous temples and some old structures is what you can see here. The city is fast developing and many places that were once related to religious institutions have given way to construction. As you enter the now busy city, you will find ancient towers right in the center of the busy street. Two elements will gradually reduce the interest in the history of this city. One is urban development and the other is the weather. Large scale flooding is common in this province, old structures gradually succumb to these climatic conditions. The Kaisilver team thanks you for taking this time to read this article. It was a great trip and we do home that the photographs and content stirred your interest in this ancient Thai temple.
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