Song of the Day: Keep in the Dark by Temples
“Keep in the dark just stay out of the light, keep in the dark just stay out of the light, keep in the dark just stay out of the light, just sleep in the sunlight“
Turns out last night wasn’t the night, was it Rams? It seems my team’s slump has coincided with me leaving the country. Coincidence? probably.
Possibly the most uninterrupted night’s sleep since we got here was had last night. Maybe we’re getting used to the heat and multiple disturbances. We woke and walked to the two nearest sets of ruins. The first we visited was called Wat Maha That. This temple was particularly ancient, having been built as early as the 14th century. It contains probably one of the most photographed images in Ayutthaya – the severed head of a stone Buddha (which was probably lopped off by the Burmese, like everything else around here), and has now been incarcerated for all eternity in the roots of a very gnarly tree. It’s one of those beautiful collisions of man and nature that occur every so often as if to remind us of who’s really calling the shots.
After this we moved on to Wat Ratchaburana, just across the road. This one was interesting because the Thais were in the process of renovating the temple and returning it to it’s former glory. We were allowed to go in the main tower or prang, which was a steep climb under the mid-day sun. When we got in there there was an unfamiliar and unpleasant aroma, but it was nice to be in the cold stone interior. As we walked around through the chambers that were open to the public it became apparent what the smell was – batshit. Looking up into the vaulted ceiling we could just make out the suspended, chrysalis-like silhouettes of about 50 to 100 bats. These weren’t just the tiny, mouse-sized ones that you get flitting about on summer nights in Blighty, but the pigeon-sized, vampiric ones that you see in horror movies. Every now and again one of these sinister sentries of the tower stirred from it’s inverted slumber and flapped around the chamber – it was very cool.
Descending into the lower chamber of the prang you could see the remains of original frescoes that had been painted on the walls, depicting various scenes from Buddhism and the history of Ayutthaya. By far the coolest thing I read though, was about the reason for the temple’s construction. It was built by King Borromarachathirat 2nd, on the cremation sites of his two elder brothers. His brothers had fought each other in a duel to determine who would succeed their deceased Father as the new King of Ayutthaya. This hadn’t been just any old duel however – they fought on the back of two elephants. Conveniently for their kid brother, they managed to kill each other so that he was left to take the vacant throne. This is an example from history (or mythology) of when sibling rivalries get out of hand, but I think it would make an amazing movie. Perhaps with Gerard Butler and Christian Bale as the two hardcase brothers, and Elijah Wood as the weedy younger sibling who inherits the throne. To develop this idea further, perhaps Sir Ian Mckellen could make a cameo appearance as the ghost of Elijah Wood’s father, guiding him through the trials of Kinghood. Please, nobody steal this idea from me.
That’s enough about temples for now – there will be plenty more where that came from before the trip comes to an end. I’m going to draw it to a close soon because we’re tired, and probably ready to move on to Sukothai. I have worn Hollie’s patience down with the same joke over and over again – in the evening she will say “I’m tired”, and I will say “Ayyuthaya’d?” Get it? like “Are you tired, Ayutthaya’d…” Anyway, I think she thinks I will stop making this joke if we get out of the city. Little does she know. We ate dinner at a restaurant called Malakor which was situated on the upper floor of an old stilted house. It was really good and set us back eight quid including a tip. It was here that I uploaded these photos you see in this blog post. I’m sorry they don’t match up to what I’m talking about in the blog – I just needed to bung the pictures on the net whilst I had chance because the wi-fi back at the hostel is too slow to allow me to upload them.
Ta ta for now.
Tommy and Hollie