Photo: Wat Thammikarat, Ayutthaya

Today’s photo is of Wat Thammikarat in the old Siamese capital of Ayutthaya, about an hour’s drive north of Bangkok. While the old temple is near the center of the old city and its monuments, I don’t think it’s in any of the major guide books. It’s in mine, of course, but otherwise it’s one of those places you have to stumble on, which is one of the reasons I think Ayutthaya is worth more than the day-trip it usually gets from visitors to Bangkok.

Wat Thammikarat

An old tree growing near the ruined prayer hall of Wat Thammikarat

The temple is right next to the grounds of the royal palace, not far from the grand ruins of Wat Si Sanphet. While there are substantial ruins, the temple is nonetheless a working monastery, with monks in residence.

The most impressive of the ruins is of the large prayer hall (wiharn), which must have been quite grand in its day. Growing out of the surrounding platform at the back of the hall are several large, gnarled frangipani trees. I was intrigued by the contrast between the organic curves of the trees and the angular red brick. I took several pictures of the scene, and this is probably the best. It conveys a somewhat melancholy air of a faded past, I think.

You’ll find more photos of Wat Thammikarat at

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