Thailand: Ayutthaya, a Vanished Buddhist Kingdom – 2007
Photographs by Kit and Diana Herring
From the mid-1300s to the mid 1700s a Buddhist kingdom flourished near modern-day Bangkok. An army from Burma destroyed the city of the same name and put an end to its glory in 1767 but Unesco has designated the ruins as a site worth preserving.
While in Thailand’s capital we discovered that the ruins were only a few hours away by bus. Diana and I immediately arranged to visit. The day we chose was terribly hot but the two or three hours we passed sweatily examining what remains of a once proud culture were worth the potential for sunstroke.
1) Entering Ayuttaya: Buddha is everywhere and recognizable by a yellow scarf
2) Fine old stupas and temples but not much shade in the blinding sun
3) This building bore a superficial resemblance to a Mayan pyramid
4) This stupa looks like it may fall over some day
5) A still-honored Buddha
6,7) This Buddha, overgrown in a banyan tree, has become an iconic symbol of Thailand. Many Thais were gathered here when we visited, either photographing the sacred image or meditating on its meaning
8) Reclining Buddha
At the end of our visit we stopped in a cafe for some well-deserved Cokes. Nearby elephants panted in the heat as much as we did.