Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Of chedis, stupas and prangs *

Finally found the time to dig up and upload my photographs from Ayutthaya. Here's a sample.

Chedi from behind frangipani blooms.
Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol, Ayutthaya. 2/08/2007

View the rest of the pics at my Flickr album.

From Bangkok we took a cab to Morchit station (aka North bus terminal, not to be mistaken for the Morchit MTR station. Note that "Morchit" is itself not written on the facade of the main terminal building.), and from there, the bus to Ayutthaya. The ride took about an hour. We then contracted a tuktuk driver to drive us around. We had intended to work our way from the farther wats to the center, but by the time we got to Wat Mahathat we were worn out already and it was time to catch the bus back to Bangkok. We had to get enough rest because we knew it would be a tough journey to Cambodia the following day.

1st class aircon bus ride: 100 baht
7-Eleven breakfast: 15-35 baht
Tuktuk ride to and from the wats: 440 baht
Simple but yummy lunch at a riverside restaurant: 460 baht
Admission fees to various wats: 20 - 30 baht
The sight of a line of elephants ambling towards the wats in the city center: Priceless
The heat: So intense it makes you breathless

* In temple architecture:

Chedi or stupa or pagoda. A generally bell-shaped tower that usually contains a relic of the Buddha, or the ashes of a king or important monk. The bell-shaped chedi evolved during the golden age of Ayutthaya.

Prang. An Ayutthayan or Khmer-style chedi that is high and slim and looks like a vertical ear corn. Some see the prang as a closed lotus bud, some as Siva's linga (phallus, a symbol of potency).

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