Ayutthaya // Wat Maha That + the Buddha in a tree

Wat Maha That was the last temple site that we visited in Ayutthaya. this Wat is by far the most popular attraction in the ruined city. the main reason why people love to visit this particular temple ruin? the buddha head in the tree.

the buddha head was removed from one of the statues when the Burmese sacked Ayutthaya in the late 1700s. it must have fallen or been moved to the base of this wall, and the tree roots grew around it. I always find it interesting when nature starts to reclaim what man has built. what makes this site unique is that the roots have grown to cradle the head but don't cover the face, which almost makes it look... intentional.

proper etiquitte requires you to always have your head lower than the head of the buddha, especially when taking photos. so everyone huddles on the ground around this tree when taking pictures... it's quite a sight. I pretty much had to crawl through a horde of Japanese tourists to get up to the barrier and take this shot. but, worth the dirty knees I think.

the rest of the complex was still impressive [if partially sinking into the ground in spots.] parts were under restoration, but there were plenty of crumbling stupas and chedis left to explore. and buddhas. I hope you guys aren't tired of seeing buddha pictures... because this temple was covered in buddhas.

Wat Maha That is a must-see if you are visiting Ayutthaya, if only for the buddha head in the tree. I would suggest making it your first stop to beat the crowds, and definitely try to get there before noon. we arrived just before several buses of tourists, and had to navigate around group tours as we explored the grounds.

there are other sites to visit in Ayutthaya, but we only spent our morning exploring the ruined city. that afternoon we went back to Bangkok to see the Grand Palace - a giant theological / governmental complex very much not in ruins. [don't worry, there's still more Thailand to come.] until then, happy travels!

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