I love temple hopping. It probably comes second only to my love of beach days and boat trips. If you are able to do all at once (see Tulum) then you are LIVING. THE. DREAM.
The Historic City of Ayutthaya is a short bus ride north of Bangkok. Once the largest and most powerful city in the world, Ayutthaya now stands as a fractured testament of time. Armed with backpacks and water bottles we set out on a day trip to explore grassy ruins and ancient deities.
Do not dwell on the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. – Buddha
Mudras are depicted in Buddha statues as symbolic gestures using the hands and fingers. The Bhumisparsha mudra, seen above and below, translate as the earth touching gesture representing the moment of the Buddha’s awakening as he claims the earth as the witness of his enlightenment. One hand is pointed down towards the earth, with the other resting open on the lap. The reclining Buddha of Wat Lokaya Sutharam is a statue that represents Buddha during his last illness, about to enter the nirvana-after-death.
Unfortunately, the majority of the Buddha heads were missing as they were lopped off by thieves and sold to private collectors. It was nice to see that these two stayed intact. There were signs all over Thailand urging people not to buy Buddha decorations or heads as it is disrespectful and written into law. One of the most iconic images of Ayutthaya is the Buddha Head in Tree Roots at Wat Mahathat. Entwined in tree roots sits a large stone Buddha head believed to have been built around the 14th century. Rumor has it that a thief tried to steal the Buddha head after the temple was abandoned, was unable to get it past the wall and left it where it remains today. Growing up I remember seeing this image in text books and paintings, and always thought “one day……”