|Ancient Buddha surveys the ruins of Thailand's former capital (wikipedia)|
|Nature finds a way|
Once known as "the pearl of the east,"
the artistic, spiritual and military hub of Southeast Asia
off and on from 1351 until 1767. In the 18th century the city was destroyed so
completely by Burmese marauders that the king relocated his capital in Bangkok, 50 miles north on the
rather than attempt to rebuild. Chao Phraya River
At its peak, in the 16th century,
was often described by foreign traders as one of the largest and wealthiest
cities in the East thanks to an abundance of rice and teak. Ayutthaya
Accounts of the 15th and 16th centuries called
Ayutthaya " "
but other sources claim the people of the region referred to themselves as
"Tai" and their kingdom was known as "Krung Tai" or
"The Tai Country." Today we know it as " Siam ." Thailand
|Wat Chaiwatthanaram is a must-see site in Ayutthaya, Thailand |
Not long afterward,
Ayutthaya attacked Angkor
which was regarded as the central power in the region. When Angkor fell, Ayutthaya became the dominant power in the region
controlling most of the territory along the shores of the Chao
Phraya river plain.
|Life along Bangkok's klongs |
Even today, the best way to approach and visit
is along the river. Also known as the Ayutthaya River
of Kings, it meanders its way from the
Northern Highlands of Thailand
through the . Make no mistake,
the Chao Phraya still serves today as Gulf
of Siam 's
No visit to
Bangkok, or the Ayutthaya
region, is complete without a cruise on the Chao Phraya
aboard the Manohra Song, a lovingly restored 50-year old , 50-foot rice boat
that cruises past exotic temples and the alluring klongs of the river.
Fortunately for the Thais, the rich food supply from the planting of rice was used to pay taxes and to support religious institutions for two hundred years between the 13th and 15th centuries.
|Manohra Song is an elegant excursion on the Chao Phraya River|
minimal rainfall had to be supplemented by an irrigation system that controlled
water levels and flooded paddies where the rice crop was glutinous. Thailand
In the river basin region however, so-called "floating rice" had been introduced by
Bengal and the thin, non-glutinous crop grew fast enough
to maintain the pace of water levels in lowland fields.
Consequently, the new strain of rice produced a surplus that allowed
to prosper thanks to its location
in the southern floodplain. Ayutthaya
Geographically, the river delta, which was considered uninhabitable, was reclaimed for rice cultivation and the region thrived thanks to its newfound crop.
|Thailand is country filled with wats, stupas and temples (Bangkok.com)|
Ayutthayan kings were monarchs with absolute as well as semi-religious status. In addition to their natural leadership they derived authority from Hinduism and Buddhism, which, under what was known as "The Cirlce of Power," or "mandala system" forced allegiance to the king even though
itself was not a unified state. Ayutthaya
|Ayutthaya is exotic, mysterious and alluring (wikipedia)|
While contemporary reconstruction continues to restore
to its once grand status, the ruins of the historic city and other associated
historic towns are now listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Ayutthaya
|Ancient Ayutthaya is being |
The ancient city of
Ayutthaya has been refound near the old city and is,
today, the capital of