Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province

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Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
พระนครศรีอยุธยา
Province
Official seal of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Seal
Nickname(s): Ayutthaya
Map of Thailand highlighting Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province
Map of Thailand highlighting Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province
Country Thailand
Capital Ayothaya
Government
 • Governor Suchin Chaichumsak (since October 2016)
Area
 • Total 2,556.6 km2 (987.1 sq mi)
Area rank Ranked 62nd
Population (2014)
 • Total 803,599
 • Rank Ranked 32nd
 • Density 310/km2 (810/sq mi)
 • Density rank Ranked 10th
Time zone ICT (UTC+7)
ISO 3166 code TH-14

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya (or Ayutthaya, Thai: พระนครศรีอยุธยา, pronounced [pʰráʔ.náʔ.kʰɔ̄ːn.sǐː.ʔā.jút.tʰā.jāː]) is one of the central provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Ang Thong, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom and Suphan Buri.

Etymology[edit]

The name Ayutthaya derives from the Sanskrit word Ayodhyā of the Ramayana epic. Ayodhyā is feminine negation of the word Yodhya which comes from the root Yudh (to fight). A (negation) + Yodhya (winnable) + ā (feminine suffix). So, literally, the name translates as "A city that cannot be fought and won over in a war".

Geography[edit]

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, covering 2,556 square kilometres, is on the flat river plain of the Chao Phraya river valley. The presence of the Lop Buri and Pa Sak rivers makes the province a major rice farming area.

History[edit]

A description of the Siamese method for creating magic squares, in Simon de la Loubère's 1693 A new historical relation of the kingdom of Siam.

Ayutthaya was founded in 1351[a] by King U-Thong. It was the capital of Thailand (then called Siam) for 417 years from 1351 until it was sacked by the Burmese army in 1767. During this era, now usually referred as the Ayutthaya period or Ayutthaya kingdom, Ayutthaya was ruled by 33 kings of 5 different dynasties. The Kingdom became a major regional player, and a trade center of the East, a meeting point of European merchants and Asian traders. Notable monarchs during the Ayutthaya period include King Naresuan the Great, who liberated Ayutthaya from the first Burmese occupation and embarked on a reign of conquest, and King Narai the Great, who initiated diplomatic relations with France, during the reign of Louis XIV. His reign was the golden age of trade and culture.

The city was positioned in a strategic position. During several months of the year, the flood plains around the cities would be flooded by the many rivers around the city. Enemy sieges were thus impossible, and forced to withdraw. This advantage was a contributing factor in the many failed Burmese invasions.

The ruins of the old capital in the Ayutthaya historical park have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since December 1991. The province is also home to the Bang Pa-in summer palace complex.

Originally named Krung Kao (กรุงเก่า), the province was renamed to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya in 1919.[1]

Symbols[edit]

Buddha head overgrown by fig tree, Wat Mahatat, Ayutthaya historical park

According to legend King Ramathibodi I found a beautiful conch shell buried in the ground, and chose the site as the place for his future capital. He then placed the shell on a pedestal tray and built a pavilion around it. The seal shows this pavilion with the provincial tree behind it.

The provincial flower is the ดอกโสน (rtgsdok sano) Sesbania aculeata, and the provincial tree is the fragrant manjack (Cordia dichotoma). The provincial slogan ราชธานีเก่า อู่ข้าวอู่น้ำ เลิศล้ำกานท์กวี คนดีศรีอยุธยา can be translated as "Old capital city, food larder of the country, poets laureate galore, and national heroes".

Administrative divisions[edit]

Map

The province is divided into sixteen districts (amphoe), 209 communes (tambon)/sub-districts and 1,328 villages (muban). There are two districts which have the same English name; however this is only because the different pronunciation and thus different spelling in Thai gets lost in romanization. Ayutthaya is unique among the provinces of Thailand in that the district of its seat of government is not called Amphoe Mueang [Ayutthaya], as the common scheme would suggest, but rather Amphoe Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya:

Climate[edit]

Ayutthaya, located in the central plains, is affected by three seasons:

  • Hot Season: March – May
  • Rainy season: June – October
  • Cool season: November - February
Climate data for Ayutthaya
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 31.0
(87.8)
33.3
(91.9)
35.4
(95.7)
35.9
(96.6)
34.3
(93.7)
32.6
(90.7)
32.0
(89.6)
31.4
(88.5)
31.3
(88.3)
31.3
(88.3)
30.7
(87.3)
30.0
(86)
32.4
(90.3)
Average low °C (°F) 17.0
(62.6)
19.4
(66.9)
22.3
(72.1)
24.3
(75.7)
24.5
(76.1)
24.3
(75.7)
24.0
(75.2)
23.8
(74.8)
23.5
(74.3)
22.5
(72.5)
20.0
(68)
17.4
(63.3)
21.9
(71.4)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 2.4
(0.094)
18.8
(0.74)
43.5
(1.713)
67.9
(2.673)
208.0
(8.189)
223.0
(8.78)
180.8
(7.118)
260.0
(10.236)
213.9
(8.421)
167.6
(6.598)
37.1
(1.461)
0.8
(0.031)
1,423.8
(56.054)
Average rainy days 0 1 4 6 15 16 17 19 17 12 3 1 111
Source: Thai Meteorological Department[2]

Tourism[edit]

Floating pavilion in Bang Pa-In Royal Palace in Bang Pa-In district
Chinese style Palace in Bang Pa-In Royal Palace

Ayutthaya is 76 kilometres north of Bangkok and boasts numerous magnificent ruins. Such ruins indicate that Ayutthaya was one of Indo - China’s most prosperous cities. There is Ayutthaya Historical Park which is a vast stretch of historical site in the heart of Ayutthaya city.

There were three palaces in Ayutthaya: Grand Palace, Chantharakasem Palace or the Front Palace, and Wang Lang or the Rear Palace. In addition, there were many other palaces and buildings for royal visits located outside the city area of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, such as Bang Pa-In Palace at Amphoe Bang Pa-in and Nakhon Luang Building at Amphoe Nakhon Luang.

Sights[edit]

Ayutthaya Tourism Centre (ศูนย์ท่องเที่ยวอยุธยา–ATC): The centre was established by the Fine Arts Department and developed to be a tourist information centre by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) with high reliefs of six great kings and queens from the Ayutthaya Kingdom on the facade of the building. The center is home to TAT information centre, an exhibition on Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya's tourism and a contemporary art gallery.

Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre (ศูนย์ศึกษาประวัติศาสตร์อยุธยา) is a national research institute devoted to the study of Ayutthaya, especially during the period when Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam. The centre is responsible for the museum of the history of Ayutthaya, which exhibits reconstructions from the past. The centre also supports an information service and a library containing historical materials about Ayutthaya.

Chao Sam Phraya National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติเจ้าสามพระยา): The museum was funded by the proceeds from the sale of votive tablets discovered in the underground crypts of the principal Prang tower of Wat Ratchaburana. Since the temple was built by King Borommarachathirat II (Chao Sam Phraya), the museum was named after him. The opening ceremony of this museum was held in 1961 and was presided over by the king and queen. It was the first museum in the country to present a new form of exhibition, displaying artefacts unearthed from the archaeological excavations as well as restoration of ancient monuments.

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Wat Phra Si Sanphet (วัดพระศรีสรรเพชญ์): This monastery is in the Grand Palace compound like Wat Phra Si Rattanasatsadaram (Wat Phra Kaeo) of Bangkok. Used as a residential palace, it became a monastery in the reign of King Ramathibodi I. When King Borom Trai Lokanat commanded new living quarters built, this residential palace was given to be a temple area, thus originating Wat Phra Si Sanphet. The chapel does not have any monks and novice inhabitants.

Grand Palace (พระราชวังหลวง): Currently called "Ancient Palace". The residential palace of every king was close to the city wall of Ayutthaya. Important buildings inside the Grand Palace compound are Wihan Somdet Hall (พระที่นั่งวิหารสมเด็จ), Sanphet Prasat Hall (พระที่นั่งสรรเพชญ์ปราสาท), Suriyat Amarin Hall, Suriyat Amarin Hall (พระที่นั่งสุริยาสน์อมรินทร์), Chakkrawat Phaichayon Hall (พระที่นั่งจักรวรรดิ์ไพชยนต์), Trimuk Hall (พระที่นั่งตรีมุข), and Banyong Rattanat Hall (พระที่นั่งบรรยงค์รัตนาสน์)

Wat Chaiwatthanaram (วัดไชยวัฒนาราม) is another monastery; King Prasat Thong commanded it built. The great beauty has been reflected from the main stupa and its satellite stupas along the gallery, an architecture influenced by Khmer.

Wat Yai Chaimongkhon or Wat Chao Phraya Thai (วัดใหญ่ชัยมงคล หรือ วัดเจ้าพระยาไท): This monastery constructed in the reign of King U-Thong. King Naresuan the Great commanded that the pagoda be built to celebrate the victory of his single-handed combat on the elephant back. He also intended a huge construction to match the large pagoda of Wat Phukhao Thong, and named it "Phra Chedi Chaiyamongkhon".

Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre (ศูนย์ศิลปาชีพบางไทร) Farmers from Ayutthaya as well as from other provinces undergo training in folk arts and crafts here. At this centre, visitors have a glimpse of how farmers in the four regions live and work and how their products of arts and crafts are produced.

Festivals[edit]

Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre Fair (งานประจำปีศูนย์ศิลปาชีพบางไทร) At the end of January

Held annually toward the end of January at Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre, the fair features displays and contests of the arts and crafts products, sales of local products and cultural performances.

Songkran Festival (งานเทศกาลสงกรานต์) April 13

Held annually on 13 April in front of Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit, Amphoe Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, it features a traditional procession, Thoet Thoeng drums procession, Song Nam Phra ceremony of the miniature of Phra Mongkhon Bophit image, and Nang Songkran beauty contest.

Wai Khru Bucha Tao Ceremony (พิธีไหว้ครูบูชาเตา) Around April – May

A wai khru ceremony held by blacksmiths and knife-makers of Aranyik knives at Ban Ton Pho, Ban Phai Nong and Ban Salai, Tambon Tha Chang, Amphoe Nakhon Luang to pay salute to their masters and forge spirits.

The ceremony is usually held on an early Thursday morning which may be the 7th, 9th, etc. day of the waxing moon of the 5th lunar month (around April – May) in order to express gratitude to their masters, sweep away possible accidents during their works as well as for their own auspiciousness and prosperity. After chanting for a congregation of angels and saluting the Triple Gem, the master of the ceremony will chant for a congregation of gods which include Siva, Vishnu, Brahma, Vishnukarma, Matuli, Vaya, Gangga, 8 ascetics, etc. as well as Thai, Lao, Mon, and Chinese masters who have imparted them with the ironwork skills, for them to receive their offerings and bless all participants. All tools and equipment will be gilded and lustral water made to sprinkle on the tools and participants.

Bang Sai Loi Krathong and Traditional Long Boat Races (งานลอยกระทงตามประทีปและแข่งเรือยาวประเพณีศูนย์ศิลปาชีพบางไทร) November

It is an annual festival held toward the end of November at the Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre, Amphoe Bang Sai. Activities include Nang Nopphamat beauty contest, contests of processions, Krathongs, and hanging lanterns, folk entertainment, traditional and international long boat races, and sales of the Centre’s products.

Ayutthaya World Heritage Fair (งานแสดงแสงเสียงอยุธยามรดกโลก) December

To commemorate the occasion of the Ayutthaya Historical Park being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 13 December 1991, a celebration is held annually for 1 week during the same period of the year. The Fair features local ways of life, handicrafts, Thai traditions and culture as well as the light and sound presentation on the history of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya Maha Mongkhon (อยุธยามหามงคล – ไหว้พระเก้าวัด) Buddhist Lent Festival

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Provincial Administration in collaboration with the Tourism Business Association and TAT Central Region Office: Region 6, organise the Ayutthaya Maha Mongkhon programme for participants to visit 9 temples in the province during the Buddhist Lent Festival.

Notes[edit]

a The city was founded on Friday, the 6th day of the waxing moon of the 5th month, 1893 Buddhist Era, corresponding to Friday, 4 March 1351 Common Era, according to the calculation of the Fine Arts Department of Thailand.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ประกาศกระทรวงมหาดไทย เรื่อง เปลี่ยนนามมณฑลกรุงเก่าและจังหวัดกรุงเก่า (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 35 (0 ก): 24–27. March 23, 1919. 
  2. ^ "30 year Average (1961-1990) - AYUTTHAYA". Thai Meteorological Department. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  3. ^ Rotchanaratha, Wina, ed. (1999). Prachum Phongsawadan Chabap Kanchanaphisek Lem Nueng ประชุมพงศาวดาร ฉบับกาญจนาภิเษก เล่ม ๑ [Golden Jubilee Collection of Historical Archives, Volume 1] (in Thai). Bangkok: Fine Arts Department of Thailand. p. 211. ISBN 9744192151. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 14°20′58″N 100°33′34″E / 14.34944°N 100.55944°E / 14.34944; 100.55944