Si Satchanalai Historical Park
- Si Satchanalai Historical Park comprises 45.14 square kilometres located on the Yom River and bounded by forested hills in which are located 204 ancient monuments. It is approximately 70 kilometres north of Sukhothai. It originally was an outpost of theKhmer Empire (at Chaliang) in North Thailand, later a fortification for the Tai Sukhothai Kingdom, then the Ayutthaya Kingdom finally to be deserted in the 18 century after the sacking of Ayutthaya by the Burmese.
- This Park is in Sukhothai Province, Thailand. The park contains the ruins of Chaliangand Si Satchanalai. Si Satchanalai, means "City of good people". It was established in 1250 as the 2nd seat of Sukhothai Empire and a home of the crown prince during the 13th and 14th centuries.
- The shape of the city was rectangular. To repulse the increasing Burmese attacks, a 5-metre high wall was constructed in the 16th century. UNESCO has declared the Si Satchanalai Historical Park a World Heritage Site. The Fine Arts Department of Thailand maintains the park with the help of UNESCO. Si Satchanalai Historical Park is visited by thousands of visitors every year, who admire ruined temples, palace buildings and the ancient Buddha figures.
Freedom from Khmer
- Before the 13th century, Tai migrated into Chao Phraya valley and founded a city called Chaliang on the bank of Yom River. Gradually Chaliang developed into a trade center between Khmer Empire and China. Until 1180, the city had a considerable autonomy during the Pho Khun Sri Naw Namthom’s rule. In 1239 Pho Khun Pha Mueang and Pho Khun Bangklanghao declared independence from Angkor and captured Chaliang. After that it became part of Sukhothai Kingdom.
- In 1250, the new town area was constructed under the rule of Sri Indraditya, in the western part of Chaliang and was named Si Satchanalai. Ban Mueang was sent by his father, Sri Indraditya as a crown prince to rule the city. Ban Mueang gave control of the town to his brother Ramkhamhaeng. The town had been allowed the position of princely city or inner provincial city for its strategic place for the defense of the capital from the northern direction, similar to Old Phichit in the south, Kamphaeng Phet in the west and Phitsanulok in the east. Phra Ruang Road was a direct road from Sukhothai to Si Satchanalai.
Lanna invasion and Ayutthaya domination
- Sukhothai Kingdom's authority was reduced at regular intervals after the demise of Ramkhamhaeng, however unlike Sukhothai which suffered from urban decline; Si Satchanalai was able to maintain its industrial and trading roles. Tilokarat of Chiang Mai added Si Satchanalai to his Lan Na Kingdom in 1451 and renamed the town to Chiangcheun. Trailokkanat of Ayutthaya Kingdom began Ayutthaya-Lanna War in 1474 and captured the town again and renamed the town to Sawankhalok. Si Satchanalai became the flourishing center of porcelain products which were exported to Indonesia, Japan and Philippines. This affluent period began in the 13th century and lasted till the 16th century. Peak cultural and economical development of the city was achieved in the 14th century. During 1766 Burmese–Siamese war, Si Satchanalai was destroyed. The city was reconstructed in the new area of existing Sawankhalok after war, abandoning of the old city.
- In 1907 Vajiravudh, crown prince visited archaeological sites at Uttaradit, Si Satchanalai, Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan, Sukhothai, and Phitsanulok. In order to promote archaeological and historical study among general public, he published "Phra Ruang City Journey" after return to Bangkok. His work was used by later historians and archaeologists including Damrong Rajanubhab and George Coedès. During his visit Vajiravudh found attractive artifacts of images of Buddha's head, a hand and feet and carried back to Bangkok. He started rebuilding of Buddha image in 1911 which was completed in 1913. The renovation project was sanctioned in 1976 and the park was officially opened in July 1988. The park was declared a World Heritage Site on December 12, 1991 as part of the Historic Town of Sukhothai.
Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo At Si Satchanalai
Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat
- It is also called Wat Si Mahathat Chaliang is the largest and the most important historic temple in Si Satchanalai. In the late 12th century during the rule of Jayavarman VII, the temple was constructed as Mahayana Buddhist temple. The extraordinary prang is the main structure. Thick high laterite wall surrounds the temple compound. The temple gate was embellished with exceptional Brahma head in 4 directions. A Sukhothai styled walking Buddha image is on the left side of prang. In 1958 after visit of Bhumibol and Sirikit, king and queen of Thailand, the temple has been elevated as 1st rank Ratchawarawihan or royal temple and under sponsorship of the Thai royal family.
- Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo means the temple of 7 lines of stupa. The temple is among the most important historic sites in Si Satchanalai. The temple is situated opposite to Wat Chang Lom and is believed unique compared to other temples because it consists of 32 stupas of different sizes. The huge size of the temple indicates that this temple was constructed for the royal family. Pattern of Stupas at Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo are inspired from different arts such as Bagan, Lanna and Sri Lanka. There were 5 mandapas, ordination hall, vihara, and sacred pond inside the temple. A defensive wall around the temple was also there which was originally encircled by a moat.