Thailand’s ancient capitals

We arrived in a country I had long wanted to visit, but Bangkok was noisy and polluted and I couldn’t wait to leave. This long narrow nation had had four capitals. Each time invaders from China pushed south, the indigenous peoples moved further south.

Sukhothai site. Photo courtesy: Fabienne Tomaschewski, Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sukhothaï.jpg

We headed in the opposite direction travelling by bus eighty kilometres north of Bangkok to Ayutthaya that had been the capital for four hundred years before Bangkok. Just as the current capital had miniature Buddhist shrines everywhere, there was clear evidence of the importance of Buddhism when Ayatthaya was the country’s capital. Stupas dominated the ancient site as in ancient India. The same style of statues of Buddha had also been replicated proving that Thailand and India had been in contact for more than a millennium.

Ayatthaya was like Sukhothai—some four hundred kilometres north of Bangkok. We stopped at this ancient site too that had been the capital prior to Ayatthaya for about one hundred years. Again, stupas dominated the site. In India, they often held relics related to the Buddha, but I don’t know if that was the case in Thailand. Whatever chaos had once erupted when the site was invaded, walking amid the symmetrical layout between large statues of Buddha was peaceful.

Featured image courtesy Fabienne Tomaschewski, Wilimedia Commons

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