Well, its been a while!
The temple dates back to the Ayutthaya era, when it was known as Wat Sakae. When Bangkok became the capital, King Rama I renovated the temple and gave it its present name. Phu Khao Thong (Golden mountain, ภูเขาทอง) is a steep artificial hill inside the Wat Saket compound. Rama I's grandson, King Rama III, decided to build a chedi of huge dimensions inside Wat Saket, but the chedi collapsed during construction because the soft soil of Bangkok could not support the weight. The hill was built out of the mud dug out to make the canal network around Bangkok. During the reign of King Rama IV, construction began of a small chedi on the hill. It was completed early in the reign of his son, King Rama V. A relic of the Buddha was brought from Sri Lanka and placed in the chedi. The surrounding concrete walls were added in the 1940s to stop the hill from eroding.
When we lived in Taiwan, on one of the telly Travel channels there used to be an advert they would run again and again and again. It told the story of travelers who turned up in a village in the arse-end of nowhere, realised they were lost and were desperate to get back on the road again. Only, of course, there was no transport for a day or two. They then slowly realised that being lost, or at least not where you wanted to be is what travel is about. I think the tag line was something like 'you can't find yourself until you're lost'. What a load of hippy-dippy baloney, is my usual view of that. I have to say I like things planned. That doesn't mean no flexibility but I enjoy planning a trip and like to know what is going to happen next.
Planning it is half the fun.
Although, if that were actually true, then I should plan two trips, have the same amount of enjoyment and save a fortune. But you know what I mean.
However, on occasion, I can be proven wrong about this and we stumble upon (or get pushed into) a hidden gem.
We were off out for the day from our Air BnB week to, I think, Galle for the day. About 10 minutes into the journey our driver turns off the main road and up a hill, round a corner, up a bit, down a bit and round a few more corners.
When he eventually stops he proudly tells that this is the temple of his own village.
This is an amazing temple, well actually a series of temples. I think it's really a monastery rather than a single temple. The one below is only open to males and is truly spectacular. The pictures don't really do justice to the amazing murals on the walls all the way around it.
Although some of the smaller stupas have a touch of the seen better days/jerry built about them, this is one of the more iconic sights/sites of Ayutthaya, with the three stupas all in a row and all still standing.
Built in the 15th century it was the temple complex for the adjacent Royal palace. It once was home to a 16m high seated Buddha. This statue was covered in 143kg of gold but, surprise surprise, it was nicked and melted down by the invading Burmese.
This was getting to be hot work so time for an iced coffee and a cheeky piece of cake!
The second part of mini-break around the Shanxi was to travel the hour or so to Tiayuan to the Jinci temple complex. The complex dates from around the 6th Century, although it has been modified and adapted many times since then.
It is most famous for the Hall of the Holy Mother which, itself is over 1000 years old. This temple features amazing carved pillars. Each of the pillars to the front of the temple is encased by a carved serpent.
After the excitement of the temples we then started heading back towards Jakarta but broke the journey up in Cirebon.
A lot of our travel in Indonesia was by train. They may not be the plushest but they were comfortable, the views were excellent and they are as cheap as chips. Someone came around with a menu at the start of the journey and then around lunchtime your selected meal turns up... and very nice it was too. I'd highly recommend trains over Indonesia's chaotic road transportation system.
This will be a blog about my latest shots and what I liked or was trying to do with them
I am a teacher of Economics and have worked in various schools in Europe & Asia. One of the things I love doing is getting out and about with my camera.
All that's new and interesting