My final batch of photos hail from Ayutthaya, the massive sprawl of modern and ancient city just north of Bangkok. Once a thriving capital of the Thai kingdom, a beacon of intellectual and artistic development, and a bustling center of trade, Ayutthaya met her demise dramatically in 1767 when the invading Burmese army pillaged her temples and riches, stole her Buddhas, and razed her to the ground.
Today the modern sprawl of city streets, apartment complexes, and businesses fill in the massive gaps between Ayutthaya’s far-flung ruined temple complexes. The major excavated ruins are within the central island, hugged by the joining of three major rivers dense with barges and long-tail boats chugging towards Bangkok. I clamored among and over these sites, crowded with day trippers, yet still able to escape the crowds among the boneyards of Buddha pieces, precariously reassembled among the crumbling brick walls. But there’s more to Ayutthaya than these central temples. If you take the time to stay a couple of days, avoid the roaming dog packs, and hop on a bike, the farther-flung ruins off the main island reward the curious and patient with wind-swept lonely perches, local meditation retreats, a temple busting with incense, noise, and people making merit for Chinese New Year, and swampy, lazy back roads cradling forgotten temples left to their ghosts.
To view my photo slide show of Ayutthaya, click on the link: Ayutthaya 2015