Travel to Thailand and visit Sukhothai

The Sukhothai kingdom was an early kingdom in the area around the city Sukhothai, in north central Thailand. The Kingdom existed from 1238 till 1438. The old capital, now 12 km outside of New Sukhothai in Tambon Mueang Kao, is in ruins and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage historical park.
The history of Sukhothai as a kingdom lasted for about two centuries. Interestingly, there were only 9 Kings in that period, suggesting some stability. Theravada Buddhism became the common religion. At the peak of its power, the Kingdom of Sukhothai exerted control and/or influence over an area that is actually greater than present day Thailand. Control supposedly stretched to Martaban (now in Myanmar), Luang Prabang (Laos) and down the Malay Peninsula. Sukhothai’s prosperity was greatest at the time of its third King, Ramkhamhaeng the Great. King Ramkhamhaeng is also credited with the design of the Thai alphabet, although there is continuing debate about this issue.

King Ramkamhaeng created in 1283 the first Thai alphabet so that it was a symbol of the nation’s independence. Although his original script has undergone some changes, it is still in use now. It consists of 44 consonants, 32 vowels, and 5 tones of sound. In 1292, King Ramkamhaeng had a stone inscription built.
It is considered to be a seminal source of Sukhothai history as well as a masterpiece of Thai literature. The Thais still learn about Sukhothai in the 13th century from this inscription.
King Ramkhamhaeng was a paternalistic and benevolent king. His people were happy. Most of them engaged in agriculture while others carried on trade, which was greatly facilitated because no tax was collected. This style of kingship has caused posterity to regard the Sukhothai Kingdom’s heyday as a « golden age » in Thai history. Under the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng, Sukhothai was both prosperous and well governed.

The ancient ruins of Sukhothai are located just 12km from the present day town of Sukhothai. The best way to get to Sukhothai is by train, arriving first in Phitsanalouk. Trains leave several times per day from Bangkok or Chiang Mai, arriving in Phitsanalouk, which is roughly halfway between the two cities. Sukhothai is just 60km from Phitsanalouk, about an hour drive by motorbike or car. There are plenty of buses and taxis providing service to Sukhothai several times per day. You can also rent a motorcycle in Phitsanalouk and drive to Sukhothai from there, this is probably the most affordable option.
The Sukhothai Historical Park is a photographers paradise, with several picturesque scenes to capture on film. The park is surrounded by a large square wall and a series of waterways around the perimeter of the city. The temple ruins inside the wall are often surrounded by water, with bridges providing access to the temple grounds. Because the area of the park is so large, most people will rent a bicycle in order to navigate from site to site inside the park. Motorcycles are also permitted inside the park, however no cars are allowed. The ruins appear to be quite old, even though they were reconstructed in the 1970s, however there are photos to show the original state of some of the ruins, making the reconstruction look quite accurate.

Wat Mahathat is the largest and most important Thai Wat in the ancient city of Sukhothai. Comprising over 200 structures, it is believed that Wat Mahathat was founded around the middle of the 13th Century by King Sri Intaratit. Wat Mahathat is located in the Sukhothai Historical Park which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991.
Surrounded by 8 smaller Chedi, the main Chedi of Wat Mahathat is built on a high plinth and has a lotus bud filial, an art form unique to Sukhothai. Around the base are stucco figures of disciples in worship. The layout of the main chedi with its 8 satellite chedi symbolizes the 9 peaks of Mount Meru. Wat Mahathat has many Buddha images including at both the North and South points of the Temple, standing Buddha images known as Phra Attharot, however many of the images are fairly recent reconstructions. The large Viharn to the East of the main chedi used to house the largest bronze seated Buddha image in Thailand but this, like many other Thailand treasures, has been moved to Bangkok and can now be seen in Wat Suthat.



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Publié le mai 24, 2012, dans Discover Thailand, Thailand Travel News, et tagué , , , , . Bookmarquez ce permalien. Poster un commentaire.

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