Wat Yansangwararam – A Modern Thai Temple close to Pattaya

Wat Yansangwararam (pronounced Wat Yana-sang-wara-ram) is located approximately 20km south of the seaside town of Pattaya. Enclosed in a huge 145 acre complex, Wat Yansangwararam is surrounded by clean gardens, massive lakes, and several different architectural styles of buildings, making it the perfect place to spend a day seeing the quieter side of Thailand.

The entrance of the monastic complex, and Wat Yansangwararam towering above it.
The entrance of the monastic complex, and Wat Yansangwararam towering above it. Photographer: Jason Gong

The temple was built in 1976 to celebrate the Supreme Patriarch Somdej Phra Yanasangworn, who at the time was the current leader of the Thai Monastic Order.

Wat Yansangwararam is now dedicated in honour of the current Thai King, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). Continue reading Wat Yansangwararam – A Modern Thai Temple close to Pattaya

Visiting Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya – Thailand

Wat Mahathat (pronounced Wat Ma-har-rarrt), also known as the Monastery of the Great Relic, is a temple ruin located in central Ayutthaya, Thailand.

The temple is believed to have been built around the 14th century and was once residence to the Supreme Patriarch leader of the Thai Buddhist monks. Today it sits in the Ayutthaya Historical Park along with several of temples, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991.

Wat Mahathat, within the Ayutthaya Historical Park; the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991
Wat Mahathat, within the Ayutthaya Historical Park; the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991

History of Wat Mahathat

Wat Mahathat first fell into ruin in the early 16th century when the main prang was said to have collapsed.

Continue reading Visiting Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya – Thailand

Visiting Sukhothai

When talking about Sukhothai, people usually refer to the Sukhothai Historical Park, also known as Old Sukhothai City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located 300km south of Chiang Mai in the central plains region and one of Thailand’s most visited ancient sites.

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Sukhothai Historical Park via Wikimedia by Paulrudd

According to legend, Sukhothai was founded in the 13th century, when two brothers, known as Pho Khun Bangklanhao and Pho Khun Phameung, took over the kingdom from the Khmer, a then major frontier post of the Angkor Empire.  Over the following years, Sukhothai was drastically expanded until Muang Sua (Luang Prabang), parts of southern Burma and South Thailand and established even political ties with China during its Yuan Dynasty. The name Sukhothai means ‘Dawn of Happiness’.

The Sukhothai-era however only lasted a brief 140 years, until armies of the Ayutthaya kingdom took tributary over Sukhothai.

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Wat Mahathat via Flickr by Brian Hoffman : http://bit.ly/1wnznrv

Continue reading Visiting Sukhothai

Visiting Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is a very popular destination for tourists and Thais alike, located just one hour’s drive (80km) from Bangkok, hence making it a perfect day trip from the capital.

After taking over from Sukhothai as the pre-eminent kingdom, Ayutthaya was the second capital of Siam, for about 400 years, from about 1350. After nearly 200 years of tension and several failed attempts by the Burmese army to invade the kingdom, the Ayutthaya dynasty eventually came to an end in 1767, defeated in an invasion led by King Hsinbyushin of Burma.

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Wat Yai Chai Mongkol via Flickr by仁仔 何 http://bit.ly/1psRuYf

It is said that the gold of Burma’s famous Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is originally from Ayutthaya. King Hsinbyushin was also responsible for raising Shwedagon to its current height. Continue reading Visiting Ayutthaya

Recommended Books on the History, Art and Architecture of Buddhism

In our newest picture collection we organized into one gallery all the covers of the books we recommended so far on the history, art and architecture of Buddhism.  Some of these books give great general introductions to broader topics, but we tried to choose more specific books as well, in the case you would like to deepen your knowledge.

Click here to see the whole gallery!

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Take a look at our previous articles too!

5 Recommended Books on Angkor Wat

What to Read Before Visiting Borobudur?

12 Recommended Books on Buddhist Architecture

12 Recommended Books on Buddhism in Southeast Asia

Recommended Books on Southeast Asian Buddhist Sacred Places

Visiting Luang Prabang

When was the last time you came across a city which was entirely considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site? That’s right, the beautiful blend of well-preserved French colonial style buildings with Lao traditional architecture in Luang Prabang makes it one of Indochina’s most beautiful cities and an  official heritage site since 1995.

Luang Prabang & the Mekong
Luang Prabang & the Mekong by *saipal via Flickr http://bit.ly/1pGxOQ9

Luang Prabang is located in the highlands of northern Laos at the confluence of the Nam Khan River and the infamous Mekong. A legend says that “Buddha smiled and rested here during his travels, prophesying that it would one day be the site of a rich and powerful city [1 ].

The city became very influential due to its strategic location near the Silk-Road and the Mekong. It was the capital of Laos under a few different reigns, most notable under the kingdom of Lane Xang until 1560 and from 1707 under the independent kingdom of Luang Prabang.

Continue reading Visiting Luang Prabang

Visiting Pha That Luang in Vientiane

Pha That Luang in its current state consists of a lot of restorations as recently as the 1930s, but the original site dates back to the 3rd Century
Pha That Luang in its current state consists of a lot of restorations as recently as the 1930s, but the original site dates back to the 3rd Century

Pha That Luang is a Buddhist stupa located just 5km from the centre of Vientiane in Laos.

It is believed that the current principal stupa of Pha That Luang was built in the 1566 century and to this day is the national symbol of Laos. Pha That Luang was built when King Setthathirat decided to move the capital of Laos from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, and ordered the construction of a magnificent stupa. He believed that creating Pha That Luang would help to achieve his own enlightenment.

Architecture

The main stupa was designed to resemble a pyramid and is protected by 30 more smaller stupas at the base. The stupa is around 69 meters long and approximately 45 meters high: builders were said to have used a thousand pounds of gold leaf in weight to decorate it.

Continue reading Visiting Pha That Luang in Vientiane

Webliography: Buddhist Architecture in Indonesia

Here are our top recommended resources about the history of architecture in Indonesia, and travel to the historical sites, with particular focus on Buddhist temples, monuments, and archaeological areas.

(Webliography is a word we’ve just invented to mean a bibliography of web resources…)

This is a work in progress so please send us your ideas with other sites and pages we should include.


 The Top 5 Ultimate Links


 THE Essential Wikipedia Pages…


 Resources about particular places

Borobudur

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“Stupa Borobudur” by Gunawan Kartapranata; transferred to Commons by User. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Continue reading Webliography: Buddhist Architecture in Indonesia

Visiting Bangkok’s Wat That Thong

Wat That Thong is a Thai Buddhist temple located in the heart of Bangkok that is not on most travellers itinerary, instead opting to see the more famous temples in Bangkok such as Wat Arun or Wat Pho (temple of the reclining Buddha).

Wat That Thong was built in 1937, and sits where two previous Buddhist temples were once standing. The biggest attraction of Wat That Thong is the beautifully crafted statue of the golden Buddha, sitting in the lotus position.

Wat That Thong is a beautiful modern Buddhist temple in Bangkok well worth adding to your itinerary
Wat That Thong is a beautiful modern Buddhist temple in Bangkok well worth adding to your itinerary

Continue reading Visiting Bangkok’s Wat That Thong

Periodization of Angkorian Architectural Styles

Angkor Wat is rightly Cambodia’s most famous historical and religious site, visited by millions every year [4.6million estimated in 2014]. But what is not clear to many until visiting is that Angkor is quite a large area near the city of Siem Reap actually containing many temples, palaces, and other ancient buildings of a wide range of architectural styles spanning several centuries.

Here is a public domain simplified map showing the many major sites near the main complexes of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom:

Karta AngkorWat” by Hobe / Holger Behr – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

An historical periodization of the styles of architecture found in and around Angkor can be a useful reference both to navigating the different eras of sites closely located in the area, as well as placing the temple architecture found around the rest of Cambodia.

Continue reading Periodization of Angkorian Architectural Styles

Selection of Slideshows about Buddhist Architecture

To provide supporting information for the launch of The Golden Lands book, we’ve published several slideshows of our own mainly about travel itineraries for Southeast Asia: check out our Slideshare page here http://www.slideshare.net/buddhistarchitecture

But we’re not the only ones on Slideshare with interests in these topics! Here are some recommended slideshows from other sources, have a look through! [Information from 3rd parties comes with no warranty 🙂 ]

Continue reading Selection of Slideshows about Buddhist Architecture

Visiting the 100-year-old Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar

Close up view of Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha Image - photo by Grace
Close up view of Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha Image – photo by Grace

Of the thousands of pagodas and temples in Myanmar,  Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda (also spelled Chauk Htet Gyi) stands out because of its famous huge reclining Buddha. The pagoda is located on Shwe Gone Dine Road, Bahan Township, in the North of Yangon.

The site is probably the second most popular tourist site in Yangon after the Shwedagon Pagoda. Chauk Htat Gyi means “great six layers” in Burmese  – so the pagoda in name and size surpasses the nearby Ngar Htat Gyi Pagoda which is the five layers pagoda! Continue reading Visiting the 100-year-old Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar

The first ever art historical survey focusing comprehensively on the Architecture of the Buddhist World