Archive for June, 2012
I feel that my photography captures the intense colors at play during the night… but to get an idea of the movement of the lighting, check out this video…
This was my first trip back to the World Expo site after its closure back in October 2010. For quite some time I had been meaning to go check it out at night, and also properly see the Shanghai Arena up close for the very first time. Of course I waited until the thick of winter to venture out to Pudong and take a look.
That evening hovered around 1°C, so I packed on a couple jackets, a hat, gloves, and thick scarf… setting up shop in Yaohua Line 8 metro station before venturing out into the cold for 2½ hours.
I did my best to capture these impressive structures, but did feel something was lacking in the lighting department… especially when you consider how other things are lit in Shanghai. Or even when you look across Shang Nan Road (map) where both the China Pavilion and Shanghai Arena (aka Mercedes Benz Arena) are located, to see how impressively the Expo Axis is lit. However, all three of these structures are immense and still very much breathtaking.
Well, what can I say…? Amazing trip.
The food, the people, the culture… the beaches, the bars, the nightlife. Thailand has it all.
For our final night in Bangkok (and in Thailand), we took a dinner cruise down the Chao Phrava Riber. A great night to celebrate an amazing trip.
Afterwards we hit up the final night market to do some last minute shopping (at the notorious Patpong market which is nestled in between go-go bars). It seems only fitting then that this was the last image taken on Thai soil:
Wat Phu Khao Thong.
This enormous chedi was built after King Naresuan’s victory over the Burmese. The site only had this one large stupa, and only a small collection of very small temples, but for some reason was one of my favorite of the day. It also reminded me, slightly, of the Mayan temples of the Mexican Yucatan. Here too you can see the water levels from the recent flooding and can then only further imagine how much this structure has had to endure over the centuries…
More info on Ayutthaya.
Couldn’t find too much information on this small site… so I guess I’ll just leave it at that!
Actually, I will just add that architectural aspects at this site relate to Khmer style, so archaeologist believe this temple to pre-date the founding of Ayutthaya, estimating construction to have occurred during in the 12th century.
More info on Ayutthaya.
Wat Maha That.
The “Temple of the Great Relics,” believed to be built during the 14th century forms the center of Ayutthaya, as well as the symbolic center of where the Buddha’s relics were enshrined.
The famous “Head of the Buddha” is located at this wat (Thai for ‘temple’), picture #8. You might also recognize the scenery from a little film called “Kickboxer“, a 1989 Van Damme movie. You can also see the centuries of flood damage that have taken their toll on the structures… actually quite amazing that after 700 years they are, for the most part, still standing.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol (Wat Chao Phya-Thai).
Built by King U-Thong in 1357, it was first used by monks who returned from Ceylon after studying under Phra Vanarat Maha Thera. This group of monks was known as the Pa Kaeo Sect, and were engaged mainly in meditation.
Since this was the place where the patriarch lived, the monastery was named Wat Chao Phya-thai which means The Temple of the Supreme Patriarch. Various royals and other dignataries sought advice here during the Ayutthaya period.
In 1592, during the reign of King Naresuan the Great, the Burmese led an army to try to subjugate Ayutthaya. King Naresuan resisted the invasion on elephant back, proving victorious he pushed back the Burmese leader to the district of Nong Sarai. As history goes, King Naresuan’s army was not able to inflict greater damage on the Burmese because regiment reinforcements did not come in time. The King vowed to execute the officers of those regiments at the conclusion of the war, but Patriarch Vanarat begged the King to pardon them and advised him to build chedis (also known as ‘chupas’ or ‘pagodas’) in memory of his great victory. A large chedi was built for winning the war, and for the battle at Nong Sarai, which are the two large chedis you see in the photos. Since then, this temple has been known as Wat Yai Chai Mongkol, named after the main chedi (Phra Chedi Chai Mongkol), meaning “Chedi of the Auspicious Victory“.
There, you learned something today.
The grounds of this temple also houses a large reclining buddha, who was just getting tucked in…
As mentioned in my previous post we visited Ayuttaya, the former capital of the Kingdom of Siam. This city is literally littered with temples, one could spend days visiting them all.
We rented a tuk-tuk for the day (the blue one in the pics), and via a stack of postcards the driver carried along with him, we pointed to the ones we wanted to see… 5 in total. We were lucky that it was a special day as all the entrance fees were waved and many of the Buddhas and shrines were beautifully dressed up for the occasion (I have split the 5 temples into 5 separate blog posts, this being the first).
Wat Phanan Choeng.
The only “living” wat we visited, by which I mean that it is still used daily by many Thais for worshiping. It was a busy scene. The highlight of this wat, was the 20m tall golden gilded Buddha…