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Destination: Historical park city of Ayutthaya in Thailand
For tourists and visitors, the historic city of Ayutthaya in Thailand, is being managed as a historical park and heritage site with guided tours and explorations being organised. The city, as a historical park, is protected by Thai law under the Act on Ancient Monuments, Antiques, Objects of Art and National Museums.

The city is full of ruins but it has been conserved with Buddhist structures such as temples, viharas and statues that work as the main exhibits of the historical park.

It was declared as a heritage site by UNESCO and the total area of the World Heritage property is 289 ha, informed the guide.

The guide would tell you that the city was founded to become the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. It was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century.  Now, the remains, characterized by the Prang or reliquary tower and gigantic monasteries, have been conserved as historic park exhibits that give an idea of its past splendour of the city.

According to history of the place, the kings were the believers of bodhisattva. And, one of the most important duties of the kings was to build a temple or a Buddha statue as a symbol of religious belief linked with prosperity and peace in the kingdom.

Here, the Buddhist temples fall into two broad categories. First, the stupa-style solid temples and the second, the Prang-style temples with various forms such as Sukhothai, Lopburi and Wat Arun can be seen with ruins conserved but a few worship places built recently at the periphery of the ruins.

The sizes of Prangs vary and their heights could range from 15 to 40 meters resembling a towering corn-cob like structure that essentially represent Mount Meru.

It is told that the Buddha relics have been housed in a vault in these structures to indicate that Buddha had attained enlightenment and shows the path to enlightenment to others.

Some of the main Buddhist temple remains worth visiting are the Wat Chai Watthanaram; Wat Mahathat; Wat Phanan Choeng; Wat Phra Si Sanphet; Wat Ratchaburana; Wat Lokaya Sutharam; Wat Phra Ram; Wat Phutthaisawan;  and Wat Thammikarat.

Ayutthaya had flourished from the 14th to the 18th centuries, during which time it grew to be one of the world's largest and most cosmopolitan urban areas and a center of global diplomacy and commerce. The city was attacked and razed by the Burmese army in 1767 that burned the city to the ground and forced the inhabitants to abandon the city.

The city was never rebuilt in the same location and remains known today as an extensive archaeological site.  

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