Thailand’s answer to Rome, Sukhothai

Wat Si Sawai - note how the tower's shape is similar to the temples in Cambodia

Wat Si Sawai – note how the tower’s shape is similar to the temples in Cambodia

Sukhothai is sort of the Rome of Thailand. It is full of ruins left by an old culture, and it is perceived to be the birthplace of Thailand’s culture.

In its prime, for about 200 years starting in 1238 AD, Sukhothai thrived as the first real capital of Siam. One king, the third, was

A modern statue of King Ramkhamhaeng on his stone bench

A modern statue of King Ramkhamhaeng on his stone bench

particularly influential in establishing the standard for Thai culture. This King, Ramkhamhaeng, invented an alphabet with which to write the language. He initiated trade with China; he established a democratic government (with a king); and he expanded the kingdom. It seems that he also established an elaborate system to bring water from a nearby reservoir and distribute it throughout the region.

.

.

We went out on a pre-breakfast bike ride and "discovered" numerous temples that have not been excavated or restored.

We went out on a pre-breakfast bike ride and “discovered” numerous temples that have not been excavated or restored.

Everywhere you go in Sukhothai you come upon ruins from this era, in various states of restoration or ruin. One morning we went out on bikes in the cool morning air and “discovered” about 10 temples right in our neighborhood.

Many of the

Badhi tree

Badhi tree

temples have Bodhi trees. We’re told that Budha had been trying for 6 years to gain enlightenment. Eventually he sat down under a Bodhi tree and began to meditate. Various versions of the story say he meditated for one to

Each Buddha has its own facial expression

Each Buddha has its own facial expression

45 days and then his mind aquired the “Three Knowledges”. The first knowledge was that of his past lives and the past lives of all beings. The second knowledge was of the laws of karma. The third knowledge was that he was free of all obstacles and released from all attachments. Source Buddha, after his Enlightenment, spent a whole week in front of the tree, standing with unblinking eyes, gazing at it with gratitude.

The Bodhi tree’s latin name is ficus religiosa, possibly due to the role it played in Buddha’s enlightenment.

.

.

.

More favorite photos from Sukhothai are below. Click on one to see a slide show with captions.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s