Ellie the Elephant Now on Sale!


My children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant is now available to purchase as an e-book for just $0.99!

Book two of the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Ellie the Elephant is an illustrated picture book that encourages children to follow their dreams. A young elephant named Ellie who lives in Thailand dreams of joining the elephant polo team and playing in the Elephant Cup polo tournament, but her parents want her to work in the rice fields. Will she realize her dream of playing elephant polo?

Inspired by my adventures in Thailand and real elephant polo matches, the story features Ellie and her family, Monk the Monkey, and human boys Wasan and Wattana. Fun for kids and adults alike, the story will introduce them to the amazing game of elephant polo and inspire children to dream big.

I decided to release two editions of the book, one with illustrations and the other with cartoon photos. Both feature the same story. Choose one or both. It’s your choice.

Ellie the Elephant – Illustrated Edition

The illustrated edition of Ellie the Elephant is now available to purchase as an ebook for only $0.99 (99 cents or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Ellie the Elephant (cartoon)

Amazon.com ($0.99)

Amazon UK (£0.77)

Amazon Canada ($1.01)

Amazon Germany/Austria (€0.89)

Amazon France (€0.89)

Amazon Italy (€0.89)

Amazon Spain (€0.89)

Amazon Brazil (R$2.00)

Amazon Japan (¥99)

Apple iTunes ($0.99 for iPad)

Barnes & Noble ($0.99 for Nook)

Goodreads ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

Kobo Books ($0.99 for Kobo)

Scribd ($0.99 for PDF)

Smashwords ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

The Wordshop ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

Coming soon to Google Play, Sony ReaderStore and other booksellers.

Ellie the Elephant – Photo Edition

The photo edition of Ellie the Elephant is now available to purchase as an ebook for only $0.99 (99 cents or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Ellie the Elephant (photos)

Amazon.com ($0.99)

Amazon UK (£0.77)

Amazon Canada ($1.01)

Amazon Germany/Austria (€0.89)

Amazon France (€0.89)

Amazon Italy (€0.89)

Amazon Spain (€0.89)

Amazon Brazil (R$2.00)

Amazon Japan (¥99)

Apple iTunes ($0.99 for iPad)

Barnes & Noble ($0.99 for Nook)

Goodreads ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

Kobo Books ($0.99 for Kobo)

Scribd ($0.99 for PDF)

Smashwords ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

The Wordshop ($0.99 for multiple ereaders)

Coming soon to Google Play, Sony ReaderStore and other booksellers.

Ellie’s Tour of Thailand

Stay tuned as Ellie goes on a virtual tour of Thailand! Here’s Ellie enjoying the scenery in Khao Yai National Park east of Bangkok.

Cover 13

What Kids Are Saying About Ellie

Ellie the Elephant is kid tested and approved! Here are what some early readers had to say about the picture book in their own words:

Heart“This one is the epicle of EPICNESS! The cover is cool and the pictures inside are the best.”

“I love this one! It is awesome! Cool! I like how you made the pictures detailed.”

“I love this one! I like the cover.”

“I like Ellie the Elephant because it has pretty good animation and it is a really good book.”

“I like dis 1 ‘cause U put GR8 detail and U cartooned everything.”

“This one is awesome! Great cover.”

“Detailed pictures. Good detail. I love the book it is so good.”

“Love this one. It is awesome!”

“I like this one because it’s attention grabbing!”

Pick up your copy of Ellie the Elephant today!

clip_image003You may also want to buy the first book in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Alexander the Salamander, is also available to purchase for just $0.99. Alexander the Salamander is about a salamander named Alexander living in the Amazon who joins his friends Airey the Butterfly and Terry the Tarantula on an unforgettable jungle adventure. Set in the Amazon region of Brazil, the story teaches children the importance of listening to teachers and other authority figures. Co-authored by M.G. Edwards and his son Alex, the story was inspired by their 2008 visit to the Amazon.

clip_image004M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Ellie the Elephant Cover Release


I’m proud to release the cover art for my upcoming children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant. Book two of the World Adventurers for Kids Series will be released as an e-book on April 1, 2013.

Ellie the Elephant is an illustrated picture book that encourages children to follow their dreams. A young elephant named Ellie who lives in Thailand dreams of joining the elephant polo team and playing in the Elephant Cup polo tournament, but her parents want her to work in the rice fields. Will she realize her dream of playing elephant polo?

Inspired by my adventures in Thailand and real elephant polo matches, the story features Ellie and her family, Monk the Monkey, and human boys Wasan and Wattana. Fun for kids and adults alike, the story will introduce them to the amazing game of elephant polo and inspire children to dream big.

Without further ado, here are two versions of the cover for your viewing pleasure:

Cover 8 (cartoon small)

Cover 8 (small)

Why does the book have two different covers? I decided to release two versions of this book, one with illustrations and cartoon photos. Both feature the same story, but readers have been mixed on whether they preferred the photos or cartoons. I’ll publish both and let you choose! Or pick them both. It’s your choice.

clip_image005What Kids Are Saying

Ellie the Elephant is kid tested and approved! Here are what some early readers had to say about the picture book in their own words:

“This one is the epicle of EPICNESS! The cover is cool and the pictures inside are the best.”

“I love this one! It is awesome! Cool! I like how you made the pictures detailed.”

“I love this one! I like the cover.”

“I like Ellie the Elephant because it has pretty good animation and it is a really good book.”

“I like dis 1 ‘cause U put GR8 detail and U cartooned everything.”

“This one is awesome! Great cover.”

“Detailed pictures. Good detail. I love the book it is so good.”

“Love this one. It is awesome!”

“I like this one because it’s attention grabbing!”

Stay tuned for the official release announcement next week of Ellie the Elephant.

In the meantime, enjoy the first book in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Alexander the Salamander, now available to purchase for just $0.99.

clip_image007Alexander the Salamander is about a salamander named Alexander living in the Amazon who joins his friends Airey the Butterfly and Terry the Tarantula on an unforgettable jungle adventure. Set in the Amazon region of Brazil, the story teaches children the importance of listening to teachers and other authority figures. Co-authored by M.G. Edwards and his son Alex, the story was inspired by their 2008 visit to the Amazon.

clip_image008M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Fire Dancing!


In March 2013, we enjoyed a brilliant fire dancing performance during a weekend getaway to Ko Samet, a small island off the coast of Pattaya, Thailand. Ko Samet is a three-hour drive south of Bangkok and a great overnight getaway for those visiting Bangkok or Pattaya who don’t have time in their schedule to visit more popular island destinations such as Phuket and Ko Samui.

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (2)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (1)

Fire dancing originated centuries ago in Samoa, a Polynesian island in the South Pacific. The islanders of Bali, Indonesia developed the Fire Dance independently as a mystical Hindu ritual known as the sanghyang to ward off witches during epidemics. Fire dancing is now practiced around the world primarily for entertainment purposes. The Ko Samet performance we saw at our beach resort was definitely entertaining.

It’s difficult to explain in words what photos and videos could show you, so without further ado, here are some shots of fire dancing on Ko Samet. Time elapse photography created the fire rings.

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (3)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (4)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (5)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (6)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (7)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (8)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (9)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (10)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (11)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (12)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (13)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (14)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (15)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (16)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (17)

Here are some photos of the beach on Ko Samet at night. What a wonderful getaway! If you visit Thailand, visit Ko Samet or one of the country’s many popular island destinations for a great beach vacation.

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (18)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing (19)

2013_03_02 Thailand Ko Samet Fire Dancing

Here’s a video clip of the performance.

Fire Dancing Performance, Ko Samet, March 2, 2013
Map picture

clip_image001M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya, Thailand


This is the final installment of a five-part series about Ayutthaya, Thailand. This article features Wat Mahathat, the ruin of Buddhist temple dating back to the Ayutthaya Kingdom period (1350-1767). Previous posts discussed the historic City of Ayutthaya; the temple ruins of Wat Chaiwatthanaram; Buddhist monastery Wat Phu Khao Thong, and temple ruins of Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon.

Wat Mahathat, or the “Monastery of the Great Relic” according to the website History of Ayutthaya, is a former Buddhist temple located in the heart of historic Ayutthaya not far from the old royal palace. It is one of the most famous sites in the Ayutthaya Historical Park.

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (1)

Wat Mahathat is best known for the photogenic Buddha’s head embedded in the trunk of a banyan tree. The well-preserved face with a serene look leaves a lasting impression. Experts believe that the sandstone head either fell from a statue and landed in the tree or was left there by a thief who could not haul it away.

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (3)

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (6)

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (9)

Although most visitors come to see the famous head, the temple itself is just as interesting.

Wat Mahathat was one of the largest and most important temple complexes in the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Historical records indicate that it was either built by King Uthong (Ramathibodhi I, 1350-69), King Borommaracha I (1370-88), or King Ramesuan (1388-95). The site fell into disrepair in the 1630s and 1730s before the Burmese razed it in 1767. Many of the prang and stupa or chedi (spires) collapsed after years of decay. Efforts have been underway since 1956 to preserve the site.

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (11)

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (12)

The temple served as the religious center of the Ayutthaya Kingdom and was the seat of the supreme Buddhist patriarch of Siam (early Thailand). It once housed relics captured during military campaigns in Cambodia and elsewhere. During the annual Kathin (royal barge) ceremony, the Ayutthaya kings sailed in a procession of barges down a canal from the palace to the temple, where they would disembark, pray, and make offerings to the gods.

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (13)

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (14)

Like Wat Chaiwattanaram, the Khmer-style Wat Mahathat was built in the shape of five-pointed structure (quincunx) with a large central prang (tower) more than 50 meters (165 feet) high representing the legendary Buddhist mountain Meru (Phra Men). Four smaller prang on the corners formed a cross symbolizing four continents facing the sea (a large, grassy courtyard). An ordination hall lay nearby. Records indicate that the temple’s architectural style, artwork, and relics grew more ornate during subsequent renovations as befitted a place of religious significance.

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (24)

Although efforts have been made to restore or add Buddha statues, most remain headless after being decapitated by the Burmese in 1767.

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (26)

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (27)

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (28)

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (29)

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (30)

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (32)

Some preserved prang, chedi, and a few murals amid a discombobulated maze of rubble are all that’s left of this once-magnificent place. While not as visually stunning as Wat Chaiwattanaram, Wat Mahathat has a larger footprint and an openness that lets you explore up close monuments of the former kingdom.

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat (33)

2012_08_31 Wat Mahathat
If you plan to visit Ayutthaya and the historical park, make a stop at Wat Mahathat. It’s one site you don’t want to miss!
Video clip of Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya, Thailand
map-012df5a9558e

 

More About Ayutthaya, Thailand

Click here to read about the City of Ayutthaya and the Ayutthaya Historical Park

Click here to read about Wat Chaiwatthanaram, the ruin of a former Buddhist temple

Click here to read about Wat Phu Khao Thong, a historical Buddhist monastery

Click here to read about Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, a historical Buddhist monastery

buythumb42M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon in Ayutthaya, Thailand


This is the fourth in a five-part series on Ayutthaya, Thailand about Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, a restored Buddhist temple dating back to the Ayutthaya Kingdom period (1350-1767). The first article described the historic City of Ayutthaya; the second, the temple ruins of Wat Chaiwatthanaram, and the third, Wat Phu Khao Thong. The final post will feature the ruins of temple Wat Mahathat.

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, or the “Great Monastery of Auspicious Victory” according to the website History of Ayutthaya, is a restored Buddhist temple located in southeast Ayutthaya. Evidence of a large moat that once existed around the site suggests that it was once an important Khmer-style temple complex in “Ayodhya,” a settlement that pre-dated the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Today it’s a functioning temple with a monastery and restored stupa or chedi (monument). Several smaller chedi ruins dotting the grounds serve as a reminder that the site is historical.

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (3)

Records indicate that Ayutthaya King Uthong, or Ramathibodhi I (1350-69), established the monastery to lay to rest two of his children, Chao Kaeo and Chao Thai, who died of cholera. Its first name was Wat Pa Kaeo or the “Monastery of the Crystal Forest.” The temple built on the site later became known as Wat Chao Phya Thai, or the “Monastery of the Supreme Patriarch,” and was home to monks trained in then-Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka).

The temple is noteworthy in Ayutthaya’s history for its role as a meeting place for conspirators involved in palace intrigue. Stories suggest that it was once home to a closely-guarded, priceless ruby that represented the wealth of the gods. In his chronicle of the history of Ayutthaya, Jeremias Van Vliet, an employee of the Dutch East India Company, alleged that slaves were groomed to die in mock attempts to steal the ruby as an offering to the gods.

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (2)

The current configuration of the temple and chedi took shape during the reign of King Naresuan (1590-1605), who reportedly gave it the name “Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon” to commemorate his victory over the Burmese occupiers he ousted from Ayutthaya in 1592. The temple was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767 and restored by the Thais in 1957. The tall chedi that stands an estimated 30 meters (100 feet) is almost as high as the one at Wat Phu Khao Thong; its more slender profile that rises in the middle of urban Ayutthaya obscures its true height.

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (4)

The temple is perhaps best known for its seven-meter (23 feet) long reclining Buddha constructed during King Naresuan’s reign. One of the largest outdoor reclining Buddhas in Thailand, it was restored in 1965 and is now a major tourist attraction in Ayutthaya.

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (5)

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (6)

The large chedi that dominates the temple complex has a square base with smaller chedi on each corner. It rises to a platform with great views of the city. As you ascend the steps, a large Buddha statue greets you at the top with a calm nod. Above the platform rises a bell-shaped tower with an octagonal base that tapers to a point; a chamber on the western side with Buddhist relics serves as a prayer shrine. The temple complex unfolds below in all directions, from the monks’ quarters and ordination hall to the west to a garden with several large Buddhist statues to the east. Manicured lawns with groomed trees and ruined chedi grace the north and south flanks.

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (7)

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (8)

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (9)

During my visit to the temple in August 2012, I was struck by the number and symmetry of the Buddha statues that meditated around the chedi base. Some such as those in the nearby prayer shrine were unique, but most were virtually identical and sat at attention in a tantric state. My wife did an excellent job capturing this impression with photos of them at artistic angles.

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (13)

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (14)

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (15)

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (16)

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (17)

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (18)

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (19)

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (20)

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (21)

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon was the last stop on our daytrip to Ayutthaya. We enjoyed watching the encroaching dusk transform the temple from a place that beckoned visitors to one reclaimed by shadows. The site is a great destination to end the day before going for dinner and embarking on an evening tour of the city to see the historic monuments of Ayutthaya at night.

2012_08_11 Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (22)

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More About Ayutthaya, Thailand

Click here to read about the City of Ayutthaya and the Ayutthaya Historical Park

Click here to read about Wat Chaiwatthanaram, the ruin of a former Buddhist temple

Click here to read about Wat Phu Khao Thong, a historical Buddhist monastery

Click here to read about Wat Mahathat, the ruin of a former Buddhist temple

 

buythumb42M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

Wat Phu Khao Thong in Ayutthaya, Thailand



This is the third in a five-part series on Ayutthaya, Thailand about Wat Phu Khao Thong, a restored Buddhist temple dating back to the Ayutthaya Kingdom period (1350-1767). The first article described the historic City of Ayutthaya; the second, the temple ruins of Wat Chaiwatthanaram. Upcoming posts will feature the ruins Wat Mahathat and the Wat Yai Chai Mongkon temple.

Wat Phu Khao Thong, or the “Temple of the Golden Mount” in Ayutthaya, is a large Buddhist complex located about two kilometers (one mile) northwest of the city center. The restored temple was built in 1387 during the reign of King Ramesuan (1339-95) of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. In 1991, UNESCO designated it a World Heritage Site within Ayutthaya Historical Park. Its famous chedi or stupa (pagoda) that rises more than 30 meters (100 feet) above the Chao Phraya River offers one of the best views in Ayutthaya.

Following his capture of Ayutthaya in 1569 at the end of the first Burmese-Siamese War, Burmese King Bhureng Noung began to construct a large Burmese Mon-style chedi on the site to commemorate his victory. The structure was not completed until 1587, when then-Prince Naresuan of the Ayutthaya Kingdom (1590-1605) finished it as Thai-style chedi to honor Ayutthaya’s independence from Burma in 1584.

The chedi was renovated in 1744 to its current form, a large square Burmese Mon-style base that rises at a moderate angle to a smaller base supporting a Thai-style chedi with a steep point. The entire hybrid structure is considered a single chedi. Four sets of stairs, one on each side, ascend to the second base.

2012_08_11 Wat Phu Khao Thong (4)

2012_08_11 Wat Phu Khao Thong (5)

2012_08_11 Wat Phu Khao Thong (7)

A nondescript passageway on the upper base leads to a sacred Buddhist shrine in the heart of the structure.

2012_08_11 Wat Phu Khao Thong (14)

The chedi dominates Ayutthaya’s landscape and offers great views of the countryside west of the city.

2012_08_11 Wat Phu Khao Thong (9)

A contemporary Buddhist temple built on the ruins of its predecessor lies to the south.

The remains of a canal that once linked the temple to the Chao Phraya River borders it to the east. Now accessible by road, the canal fell into disuse following the destruction of Ayutthaya in 1767.

2012_08_11 Wat Phu Khao Thong (11)

To the north is a monument dedicated to King Naresuan with a statue of the legendary king mounted on horseback. Large, colorful statues of chickens surround the monument, reportedly paying homage to the king’s fondness for the bird.

While not as famous as other historical sites in Ayutthaya, Wat Phu Khao Thong is worth a visit to climb the great chedi and enjoy the view. It’s one of the few places where you can bestride a remnant of ancient Ayutthaya.

map-012df5a9558e

 

More About Ayutthaya, Thailand

Click here to read about the City of Ayutthaya and the Ayutthaya Historical Park

Click here to read about Wat Chaiwatthanaram, the ruin of a former Buddhist temple

Click here to read about Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, a historical Buddhist monastery

Click here to read about Wat Mahathat, the ruin of a former Buddhist temple

 

buythumb[4]M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram in Ayutthaya, Thailand


This is the second in a five-part series on Ayutthaya, Thailand about the temple ruins at Wat Chaiwatthanaram. The first article described the City of Ayutthaya. The remainder will feature other sites in Ayutthaya Historical Park, including Wat Phu Khao Thong, Wat Mahathat, and Wat Yai Chai Mongkon.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram is a restored Buddhist temple on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River across from Ayutthaya Island. In 1991, UNESCO designated the complex a World Heritage Site in Ayutthaya Historical Park. The temple ruin, one of Ayutthaya’s most popular tourist destinations, offers picturesque views that capture the essence of this fascinating place. The site is remarkable for its once-innovative square chedi or stupa (pagodas) with indented corners that are now common structures in contemporary Thai Buddhist temples.

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (2)

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (16)

According to the information resource History of Ayutthaya, the name Wat Chaiwatthanaram is roughly translated as the “Monastery of the Victorious and Prosperous Temple.” It was built over two decades from 1630 to 1650 by King Prasat Thong of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Dedicated to the memory of his beloved foster mother, the temple was used to perform royal ceremonies, including the cremation of deceased royals.

The temple’s centerpiece is the “Phra Prang Prathan,” a 35-meter tall prang (tower) built in Khmer (Cambodian) style popular at the time of construction.

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (7)

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (9)

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (10)

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (11)

The rectangular outer wall and gates that once surrounding the symmetrical complex were gone when I visited in August 2012, and only the foundations and a few of the eight chedi that served as chapels remained.

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (3)

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (19)

The wall, which symbolized the crystal walls of the world in Buddhist lore, once enclosed a large courtyard. In its center stood a still-intact, five-pointed structure (quincunx) that included Phra Prang Prathan, a symbol of the legendary Buddhist mountain Meru (Phra Men), and four smaller prang representing four continents pointing in different directions toward the sea. The courtyard represented seven oceans.

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (6)

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (8)

On the angled base of Phra Prang Prathan graced by large Buddhist statues, sets of stairs climbed to what was once an ordination hall where ceremonies were performed and to a gallery that symbolized seven mountains.

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (14)

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (15)

Two restored Thai-style chedi next to the Chao Phraya River interred the ashes of King Prasat Thong’s mother.

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (17)

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (18)

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (21)

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (22)

Destroyed by the Burmese in 1767, Wat Chaiwatthanaram lay deserted and was looted for bricks, Buddhist statues, and other artifacts for more than two centuries until it was restored by the Royal Thai government in 1992. The site sustained damage during the flooding of Ayutthaya in late 2011, and was still closed for restoration when I visited. I managed to take some fantastic photos of the complex from the site perimeter.

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram (24)

While some of the temple’s splendor remains, many of its structures, statues, artwork, and the royal boat landing at the river’s edge disappeared ages ago. Enough of it has been preserved to give visitors of glimpse of its former glory.

2012_08_11 Thailand Ayutthaya Wat Chaiwatthanaram

A video clip with a 360-degree view of the Wat Chaiwatthanaram site.

Video clip of Wat Chaiwatthanaram in Ayutthaya, Thailand
Map picture

 

More About Ayutthaya, Thailand

Click here to read about the City of Ayutthaya and the Ayutthaya Historical Park

Click here to read about Wat Phu Khao Thong, a historical Buddhist monastery

Click here to read about Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, a historical Buddhist monastery

Click here to read about Wat Mahathat, the ruin of a former Buddhist temple

 

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.