Buddha of Putthaisawan Temple  Ayutthaya , Thailand

This stunning riverside temple complex was built by King U-Thong in 1353 to memorialise the original camp area where the king lived as he took to building his capital city on the island. It is particularly interesting today as the modern functioning temple at the west of the grounds contrasts with the fully in tact ancient buildings in the centre and crumbling ruins pushed up against the riverbank to the rear. The main attraction is a striking white Khmer-style prang, surrounded by a courtyard with 105 gold-plated seated Buddhas set up in a similar fashion to those at Wat Pho and other prominent temples in Bangkok. The Buddha images are sheltered by brick walls and a long roof held up by ancient wood foundations. The prang itself is in pristine condition compared to the crumbling and overgrown ones at Wat Phra Ram and Wat Chaiwatthanaram, and it is perhaps the single most spectacular structure in Ayutthaya. The prang is fronted by an elegant passageway from which you can walk into the sanctuary to see ancient stone depictions of the Buddha's footprints, a black reclining Buddha and a central shrine believed to contain relics of the Buddha and other treasures. Also note the protective nagas at the base of the stairwells, accompanied by more modern and even more frightening serpents on either side. After exploring the prang and courtyard, take a stroll by the river and finish up by burning an incense stick at the modern wiharn and/or shrine to King Taksin over at the functioning temple.

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