Most of South East Asia stands on a pedestal of historical and cultural importance. This holds good when one speaks of Thailand, too. But when one cats their mind to heritage and wonder, Thailand’s Buddhist temples, palaces and mountains become smaller ornaments in the crown of this beautiful country. The diamond in the crowning glory of Thailand is, without a doubt, Ayutthaya.
Situated north of Bangkok is the ancient city of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, simply known as Ayutthaya, home to numerous magnificent ruins of a cultural heritage dating back to the early 14th century. Ideally located between China, India and the Malay Archipelago, Ayutthaya was a well-known trading centre during the 16th and 17th centuries before it was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century. The ruins of the great city (now a world heritage site) are now preserved by UNESCO, and are indicative of a prolonged period of prosperity until the unfortunate collapse.
You need an entire day to marvel at the gorgeous wonder that is Ayutthaya, especially if you stop at the Bang Pa In palace, which borrows heavily from European architecture. The palace buildings border an artificial lake, in the middle of which stands a Thai-style pavilion. This pavilion is perhaps the only example of Thai architecture within the Bang Pa In Palace.
What truly makes Ayutthaya a must-visit attraction is its architecture. The ruins remain scattered around grassy lands, but they do let your imagination travel through time and visualise the grandeur the city must have boasted at the peak of its prosperity. They also allow a peek at signs of Japanese, French, Dutch and Portuguese trading activity in the area several hundred years ago.
Ayutthaya is an archaeologist’s delight and an onlooker’s pleasure. Despite Sukothai’s imposing presence as the birthplace of the kingdom of Thailand, Ayutthaya is often regarded as the high point of Thai history, and with good reason.
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