After our beautiful trek to Phyraya Nakhon Cave we got in a solid night's sleep and then woke up bright and early to keep heading south and make our way to Wat Phra Borommathat Chaiya.
Wat Phra Borommathat Chaiya stands as the most elaborate example of Srivijaya influence remaining in Thailand today. Srivijaya was a Buddhist seaborne empire based on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, which influenced much of Southeast Asia. Built around an eye-catching Japanese-style chedi (a monument usually housing sacred relics associated with Buddha or other saintly persons) the site is thought to have been established when the Chaiya district was an important regional center of the Srivijaya kingdom around the eighth century.
While we visited, a section of the chedi was covered in scaffolding, but apparently the chedi at Wat Phra Borommathat is one of only a handful of ancient Srivijayan monuments that can still be seen in the area. It was first constructed out of brick and vegetable mortar around 1,200 years ago, and has twice been restored in the early 20th century. Some alterations were made, including the addition of Thai artistic elements, but the original shape was largely preserved. Folks who have explored Japanese temple sites can see a strong resemblance. Rising from a square base, its five patterned tiers include shelves, niches and points leading up to a lotus and topped by a slender spire. Buddhist relics are said to be enshrined inside.
Surrounding the chedi on all four sides are ceramic-roofed cloisters filled with Buddha images of various shapes and sizes. Near a Bodhi tree on the other side of the cloisters, a trio of sandstone Ayutthaya-era Buddha images in the Subduing Mara posture sit side by side, exposed to the elements. Ayutthaya is a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1350 to 1767 and is considered to be the precursor of modern Thailand. Local lore claims that these images prefer to be outside, evidenced by a lightning strike on a building they were once placed in.
There were soooo many Buddha statues at the temple that Joshua decided
to snag a time-lapse of them all.
Check out the gallery below to view the full details of all the Buddhas surrounding the temple.
As you leave the temple, you run into a trio of sandstone Ayutthaya-era Buddha images in the Subduing Mara posture sitting side by side, exposed to the elements.
If you ever find yourself in Thailand and heading south from Bangkok, I would highly recommend hitting up Wat Phra Borommathat Chaiya. Aside from all the Buddhas to take in there is also the Chaiya National Museum which procures a small but interesting collection of statues discovered in the area to include a roughly 1,300 year old Avalokitesvara (The Lord of the World) head kept in the front room, and images of Hindu deities Ganesha and Vishnu.