Exploring Ayutthaya Historical Park (Part 2): The Crypt of Wat Ratchaburana

Ayutthaya was the mistress of ancient Southeast Asia. Her power is well known even to the Europeans. She is so rich that many treasures are hidden within her prangs, wats, and palaces. The invading Burmese got most of the treasures but they missed the ones in Wat Ratchaburana.

Wat Ratchaburana is an interesting structure in Ayutthaya Historical Park because it looked like a giant corn from a distance.

Wat Ratchaburana in Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand
The mysterious giant corn.

The gargantuan corn is actually the prang of Wat Ratchaburana. The design is the prime example of Ayutthaya’s architecture and art.

Wat Ratchaburana in Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

Wat Ratchaburana was one of the few temples in Ayutthaya Historical Park that was spared from destruction when the Burmese sacked the city in 1767. Too bad for them that they didn’t demolish it because they missed the great treasures inside it.

Entrance to Wat Ratchaburana in Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

Entering Wat Ratchaburana is not easy for a “makunat” person like me because I shelled out another 50 Baht for the admission fee. I previously spent 50 Baht when I entered Wat Mahathat so I already spent 100 Baht for this adventure.

If I just pretended that I’m Thai then maybe I could enter this wat for free.

Ruins of Wat Ratchaburana in Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

Wat Ratchaburana was built by Somdet Phra Borommaracha II over the cremation site of his brothers who duelled for the throne on elephant’s backs. In short, Somdet Phra Borommaracha II got the crown easily after his two elder brothers died foolishly.

Restoration works in Wat Ratchaburana, Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

Restoration works are being done on Wat Ratchaburana during my visit. Scaffolding stood beside the main prang while experts are doing their work quietly.

Wat Ratchaburana, Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

It’s good that the Thai government is committed in preserving their historical treasures.

Just like other Buddhist temples that I saw in Thailand, Wat Ratchaburana is replete with statues and symbols from Buddhist and Hindu mythology.

The main prang showcases statues of the Garuda and nagas (giant snakes). There are statues of Hindu gods too but I don’t recognize them.

Buddhist and Hindu statues on Wat Ratchaburana, Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

Of course, Buddha will not be absent.

Buddha statue in Wat Ratchaburana, Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

Just like Wat Mahathat, Wat Ratchaburana has a grand hall where monks did their rituals in the past. Unfortunately, the grand hall was destroyed by the Burmese.

Ruins of Wat Ratchaburana in Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

There’s nothing much to see in the Grand Hall other than its walls, columns, and brick floor. All the Buddha statues that resided in this hall are now gone. The only thing that’s best for the Grand Hall is its very good view of Wat Ratchaburana:

Wat Ratchaburana, Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

I didn’t expect that Wat Ratchaburana has a surprise for me. I thought that I will be just looking at ruins and its exterior but lo and behold! A staircase going down the depths of the temple.

Stairs to the crypt of Wat Ratchabaruna in Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

The not so mysterious tunnel made me feel like I’m the Tomb Raider. Too bad that there was no trap that sprung or any monster that blocked my path. It was just an empty crypt. No, make that an “empty and smelly crypt”. I say it’s smelly not because something is decaying (like a mummified Thai king) but possibly because of the mold.

Crypt of Wat Ratchaburana in Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

The crypt is not even a tomb. It is, actually, a reliquary and it was said that it once contained a relic of Buddha. 

Inside the crypt are the faded paintings of Buddha.

Buddhist painting in Wat Rachaburana, Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

The photo is not good because the paintings are too faded. I believe that the paintings’ deterioration will continue because of the humidity inside the Wat Rachaburana’s crypt.

Aside from Buddha’s relic, the crypt also contained gold and precious stones. In fact, looters raided Wat Ratchaburana in the past and they hauled great amount of treasures. The looters were caught and some of the stolen items were recovered.

The Thai government made their own digging inside Wat Ratchaburana and they unearthed golden Buddha statues, votive tablets, royal regalia, and other precious items.1 Too bad that they didn’t left anything for the poor tourist like me.

Inside Wat Ratchaburana in Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

I didn’t stay long inside the crypt because of the smell. I climbed up quickly for a breath of fresh air.

The open walkway just outside Wat Ratchaburana’s entrance is the perfect place for viewing the whole Wat Ratchaburana complex. It is also the perfect place for a selfie, like this one:

My selfie at Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

Wat Ratchaburana is more interesting that the nearby Wat Mahathat because of its crypt. Also, Wat Mahathat has nothing but ruins while Wat Ratchaburana’s main prang is still intact. If you’re visiting Ayutthaya Historical Park then you must enter the crypt of Wat Ratchaburana. Maybe you’ll get one precious stone that is stuck in the corner.


Read my adventures in Ayutthaya Historical Park:

Exploring Ayutthaya Historical Park (Part 1): The Ruins of Wat Mahathat
Exploring Ayutthaya Historical Park (Part 3): Close Encounter with Thai Elephants
Exploring Ayutthaya Historical Park (Part 4): St. Joseph Church of Ayutthaya
A Biker’s Adventure in Ayutthaya Historical Park


Some information on this post came from this source:

1. Tourism Thailand

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  1. Yes, these treasures must be preserved - the heritage. Sad that some will demolish and build modern structures in the name of development. :(

    1. Sigh. What you said is true. Some people don't care about history. They only care about the money.

  2. this place really reminds me of the Angkor Wat... It is also nice to see that their Government is doing their best to preserve these historical landmarks... unlike sa country natin.. look at the Intramuros and also the Rizal Park... sigh

    1. Kaya nga eh. Dapat talaga paigtingin pa natin ang panawagan sa publiko na i-prioritize naman ang heritage sites natin.


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