Paying Respect to the Reclining Buddhas Along the Chao Phraya River

| March 14, 2016

All along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. especially from Ayutthaya. Ang Thong. through to Sing Buri. the land long glorified with Buddhism from distant past to the present. traces of strong faith are found. particularly beautiful reclining Buddhas. Tracking down such traces is, therefore, fulfilling for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. The path of strong faith starts from the old capital of Ayutthaya which retains its mystic charms of a glorious city that was at its zenith for 417 years. The spires of temples and palaces that reflect the first light of the day could overwhelm all onlookers with delight.
The first reclining Buddha to pay respect to is the Reclining Buddha of Wat Lokayasuttharam, an ancient temple on the west side of the city island, close to Wat Worachettharam and Wat Worapho. No records have been found about the origin of the temple. It was left in ruins since Ayutthaya fell to the enemies in 1767. The only remaining Object is the huge reclining Buddha, the largest among those found in Ayutthaya City Island area. The Buddha is in the open, built in brick and stucco, measuring 42 meters in length and 8 meters in height. The head is laid on lotus petals and the lips in a gentle smile. It is surrounded by 24 octagonal columns. Also, within the city island of Ayutthaya is the reclining Buddha at Wat Thammikarat. The reclining Buddha measures 12 meters in length. It is the only reclining Buddha that was found within a temple halt, with peculiar style. It was built in the middle of the Ayutthaya Period. The middle of the feet features the wheel in the haul-relief pattern.
Outside of the city island, on the east is one of the most significant temples of Ayutthaya, Wat Yai Chaimongkhon, with the loftiest pagoda in Ayutthaya. The temple was believed to have been built by King U-Thong, the founder of Ayutthaya In 1592. when King Naresuan the Great won The battle on elephant back over the Viceroy of Burma at Nang Sarai in Suphan Buri, the great pagoda was built to commemorate the victory. Apart from the prominent pagoda. the temple also features the Hall of the Reclining Buddha on the front It was assumed to have been built at the same time as the pagoda by King Naresuan the Great. Only some traces of the wall are left with two columns of the temple hall, and the reclining Buddha in the open. measuring 15 meters in length. The Buddha is in Ayutthaya style, with a square face, a large extending mouth, facing the east Going further to Tha Ruea District on Highways 3056 and 3407, a distance of 35 kilometers, one comes across a revered reclining Buddha. the Reclining Buddha of Wat Satue. The reclining Buddha is in the open. built in brick and stucco, measuring 52 meters in length. It was built in the Fifth Reign of the Bangkok Period, by Somdet Phra Phutthachan To Phromrangsi, a highly respected Lord Abbot in 1870

From Ayutthaya, take Highway 309 to Pa Mok District. Ang Thong Province, a distance of 17 kilometers. A much-revered object here is the Reclining Buddha of Wat Pa Mok, believed to have been built in the Sukhothai Period. A legend told of the Buddha floating down the river to the area in front of the temple. Efforts were made to bring the image ashore but to no avail. Lord Abbot was told in his dream to set up a worshipping ceremony and properly welcome the Buddha to the temple. When a plague hit the population in the Firth Reign of the Bangkok Period, devotees pleaded for a cure before the image, and heard the Buddha talking from its breast giving the recipe of the medicine.
Legend aside, the reclining Buddha of Wat Pa Mok is in fine features, especially the impeccable face. It is in brick and stucco and entirely gilded. The image measures 22.58 meters in length. The face is oval. the eyebrows joined in a long curving line similar to the bird’s wings, the nose sharp and curving, the lips in clear curves with a slight smile. The image lies to its right in the lion’s position, the head rested on 3 pillows in beautiful lacquered and gilded patterns. and enshrined in a 9-sechon temple hall. built in the late Ayutthaya style, as a curving barge. Another temple not far away on Highway 309, about 4 kilometers from Ang Thong District is Wat Ratchapaksi, a small temple on Noi River. A reclining Buddha is enshrined in the open temple hall. The image is of the same size as that at Wat Pa Mok.

Another fine reclining Buddha of Ang Thong Province is the Reclining Buddha of Wat Khun lnthapramun, presumably built in the Sukhothai Period towards the end of the Ayutthaya Period, conducted by Khun lnthapramun, the taxman who used the tax money in the process. He was executed for the offense. However, King Boromakot recognized his great faith and had his body entombed within the temple, renamed as Wat Khun lnthapramun. The reclining Buddha is in the open, surrounded by perennial trees. It is recognized as the longest reclining Buddha in Thailand, measuring 55 meters.
From Ang Thong Province, travel further to Sing Buri, about 40 kilometers away, and turn 1nto Highway 3032 towards Suphan Buri, for about 4 kilometers. to Wat Phra Non Chaksi, the temple of the reclining Buddha of Chaksi, without firm records on its origin. A chronicle of King Boromakot’ s reign told of the king paying homage to the image in 1754. The image is 46 meters in length, enshrined in a large temple hall. Also in Sing Buri, there is a reclining Buddha that is still not widely known. but worth visiting at Wat Champa Thong on the Noi River, not far from Wat Phikun Thong. The temple was built in the late Ayutthaya Period. It became dilapidated. The Venerable Phae, the Lord Abbot of Wat Phikun Thong had a new reclining Buddha built in 1986, over the original one. It measures 20 meters in length, in fine features. The strong faith in the Lord Buddha and his teachings never fades away and contnbutes to the charms of this route for pilgrims and all those seeking the peace of mind in this troubled world.

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Category: Ayutthaya