|PRANGS OF AYUTTHAYA BICYCLE TRACK
|This bicycle tour has been designed to bring you to the most important prang towers of Ayutthaya. Stupas came in different forms of which the prang
and the chedi were the most common in Siam. The prang finds its roots in the Khmer architecture. Before the establishment of Ayutthaya in 1350, the
Khmer were present in this area. Lopburi was one of the main outposts of the Khmer realm and Ayodhya, the pre-runner of Ayutthaya, was likely a
During the Early Ayutthaya period (1351 - 1488 CE), the prang was the most prominent structure of the temple compound. Thai builders adapted
the prang by extending and developing it. The bud-shaped tower, measuring between 15 and 40 meters in height, stood on a high square base and
had four niches; three niches containing statues and a fourth giving access to the cella via a small, east aligned, porch. The porch could be accessed
by a steep flight of steps.
Depending on the type of temple, relics of the deceased or the Buddha (Maha That) were housed in the vault of the tower. Variations were seen over
time and sometimes the cella was simply replaced by a niche, with a Buddha image located in the cardinal directions. Initially, a Garuda was depicted
halfway the prang in the four directions, but they were omitted later. Prangs were topped with a multi-branched finial; a Trishul, the "weapon of Indra".
The prangs essentially represent Mount Meru. Mount Meru was the center of each system of the universe with around it, seven alternate belts of
ocean and mountain; then an eighth (the great) ocean, at the four cardinal points of which are the four great human worlds or continents; one inhabited
by men, the other three by half-human beings. The main visible difference between Khmer and Thai prangs is that the first tapers off decreasing
stepwise, while the second tapers without visible steps, thus much smoother. Ayutthaya prangs were mostly built with bricks, then covered with
stucco. Prangs were in general no more built after the Early Ayutthaya period and were replaced by the Sri Lankan-styled chedi, except for the
period of the reign of King Prasat Thong (reign 1629-1656 CE).
Locations visited are: Wat Phutthaisawan, Wat Chai Watthanaram, Wat Worachet, Wat Kasatrathirat, Wat Jao Phram, Wat Som, Wat Langka,
Wat Lokaya Sutha, Wat Rakhang, Wat Choeng Tha, Wat Khok Muang, Wat Racha Burana, Wat Maha That, Wat Phong, Wat Phra Ram.
There is a entry fee imposed by the Fine Arts Department at Wat Racha Burana, Wat Maha That and Wat Phra Ram.