Botched work mar Ayutthaya restoration

Reports of shoddy restoration work at the World Heritage Site of Ayutthaya due to the action on inexperienced contractors.

Ayutthaya Temple Ruines
photo credit: Sofia Brightsea

Restoration work posing threat to historical sites
MCOT News, 08 August 2008

Ancient historical sites in the old capital city of Ayutthaya are under threat not only from tourism, theft, and natural disasters but also restoration conducted on the wrong principles. We have more details in this report from Thai News Agency. The bell-shaped chedi surrounded by elephant figures at Maheyong temple in Ayutthaya was restored a few years ago. Historians have widely criticized that the restoration work changed the stupa’s architectural design from more than 300 years ago. Only half of the original Chedi’s body was left before restoration began and after completion, the chedi was bigger than the original. This temple was the center of the monks’ education. It was surrounded by a moat, connecting to the water route, used by kings to travel to the temple to conduct religious ceremonies, presenting robes to monks. In the restoration, the landscape around the temple was not rebuilt to maintain the meaning of the temple. Srisak Wanlipodom, a historian said “The meaning of a historical site is related to how it was important to people of that period, who built it, and when it was built. Restoration of an historical site should be based on these relations. It’s not right to see only ruins without knowing their real meaning.”

Related Books:
Ayutthaya-Venice of the East
Dutch Perceptions of the Thai Court of Ayutthaya, Ca. 1604-1765 (Tanap Monographs on the History of Asian-European Interaction) (Tanap Monographs on the History of Asian-European Interaction)
Ayutthaya and Sukhothai: World Heritage – Reflections Of The Past (2 Volume Boxed Set)
Thailand’s Ancient Capitals Sukhothai to Ayudhya
Ancient Capitals of Thailand (River Books)

Related Posts

Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *