Timings : 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Entry Fee : THB 50
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Wat Ratchaburana is one of the most important monasteries of tourist interest in the island of Ayutthaya. Known as the “temple of royal restoration,” the beautiful architecture of the 14th-century sanctuary laid in ruins until the Department of Fine Arts, Thailand undertook the extensive restoration of the site. Situated in proximity of Wat Mahathat as well as the Royal Palace, this temple is thought to be the most ancient monastery in the province of Ayutthaya. Wat Ratchaburana has evoked a lot of interest lately and is regarded to be a highly popular temple within the historical island at present. Visitors are permitted to climb about half way up the prang and onto the praying area. The chambers below the ruins were found to hold enormous treasures with the walls being decorated elaborately with beautiful murals.
The main prang or the central tower of Wat Ratchaburana serves as the highlight of the place with numerous artefacts and untold treasures being discovered from within it during the excavation of the ruins. This caused a few miscreants to break into the concealed vault underneath and steal the gold coins along with other articles of value. The looted treasures were recovered eventually with all the ancient artefacts and valuable objects being shifted to the “Chao Sam Phraya National Museum” located in the vicinity of Wat Phra Ram.
Moving around the site and climbing the steep stairs will be laborious and tiring. It is, therefore, best to visit the temple during the period of November to January when the weather is ideal.
It is essential to carry drinking water and shield the head from scorching sunlight by covering it with a cap or umbrella.
Kuay tiao ruea or a bowl of boat noodles is the signature dish of the region that happens to be a must-have for tourists visiting.
The construction of Wat Ratchaburana can be traced back to 1424 during the reign of King Borommarachathirat II. It was initially built as a memorial to two of his elder brothers who killed one another in a battle of succession. Two lofty towers known as Chedi Chao Ai Phraya and Chedi Chao Yi Phraya were erected on the sites of their cremations with the temple becoming famous as Wat Ratchaburana.
The main draw of Wat Ratchaburana remains its crypt that housed some valuable items including several sacred tablets made out of lead & tin and numerous gold artefacts including Buddhist relics and weaponry. The Fine Arts Department of Thailand excavated the crypt along with the hidden chambers in 1957, recovering the priceless artefacts. Hundreds of sacred relics have been sold off to the public with the proceedings being used for building the “Chao Sam Phraya National Museum” where the remaining artefacts are being exhibited within the Ratchaburana Room.
The Buddhist temple following the principles of the Deravada sect was constructed according to the Khmer style of architecture. Wat Ratchaburana faces the East and follows the rising sun with the gallery, central prang and the ordination hall occupying the east to west path. The tall tower arising from the middle of the temple serves as the prang with the walls revealing the Khmer style of ornamentation replete with stucco images of Hindu mythological figures being sculpted on the four stupas believed to be influenced by Sri Lankan culture.
The Eastern side of the prang consists of a steep stairway that leads to a concealed crypt that held a vast number of treasures excavated by the Fine Arts Department in 1957. The middle of the prang has some mural paintings showing Buddha in multiple forms and retelling of the stories of Buddha attaining enlightenment. There are a number of headless Garuda and Buddha statues evident at the base of the prang too.
By Train - Tourists can easily get to the Historical Park of Ayutthaya by taking the train from Hualamphong Station in Bangkok to Ayutthaya by buying a first class ticket for THB 300. Travelling by third class in exchange for THB 35 may be economical, but it can be extremely crowded in the carriage.
By Bus - It is also possible to take bus Nos 26, 104, 136, or 509 to the Ayutthaya bus station and then proceed via a hired tuk-tuk or rented bicycle.
By Car/Van - Getting on a minivan by paying THB 75 can be the quickest way to reach the site from Bangkok.
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