Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wat Phra Ram - Ayutthaya

Wat Phra Ram (Thai: วัดพระราม) is famous for its chedis and the towering prang. Although in ruins today, the remaining stucco work provides testimony to the rich work done on the monument. Wat Phra Ram is a restored ruin located in the Historical Park of Ayutthaya in Pratu situated close to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Sri Sanphet in a swampy area called Bueng Phra Ram.
This temple consists of one huge prang and some smaller chedi and outbuildings, all in disrepair though the top of the prang is complete. Staircases to the side of the prang give views of Ayutthaya. A big lagoon is in front of this monastery. Its original name was "Nong Sano", it was changed to be "Bueng Phra Ram" or currently Phra Ram Public Park.
The monastery was constructed on the cremation site of the first Ayutthayan monarch, King Ramathibodi I (r. 1351-1369). The exact time of its construction is not known as the various Chronicles of Ayutthaya give different timings of its construction. The oldest version, the Luang Prasoet, written during the Late Ayutthayan era, states its establishment in 1369. Later versions written in the post-Ayutthayan era put its construction in the year 1434, after the death of Borom-maracha II (r. 1424-1448) and the throne ascending of King Borom-matrailokanat (r. Ayutthaya 1448-1463 /r. Phitsanulok 1463 -1488), somehow 65 year later.
Wat Phra Ram as Wat Mahathat, Wat Phutthai Sawan and the later built Wat Rachaburana follows the Khmer concept of temple construction. We find nearly identical, but earlier built structures at Angkor. Phnom Bakheng, Preah Rup, East Mebon, Baphuon and Ta Keo were all Temple Mountains, consisting of a central tower surrounded by four corner towers, forming a quincunx, the latter also often was surrounded by a courtyard and a gallery.
Artifacts were found during excavations in the second half of the fifties in the crypt of Wat Phra Ram. Some are at display in the Wat Mahathat room of the Chao Sam Phraya Museum. But due to the limited number of findings, the relic chambers of Wat Phra Ram were likely emptied by looters earlier.

Source: http://www.ayutthaya-history.com
Images: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Wat_Phra_Ram


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