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Ancient Nakhon Pathom


The Chula Prathon Chedi
    "Nakhon Chaisri, or Nakhon Pathom, located on the Tha Chin River Basin, was a largest city in the old Siam before the Ayutthaya Period. It was an important trade route connecting with U-Thong, Kanphaeng Saen and Khu Bua (presently Ratchaburi).
    Nakhon Chaisri is believed to have reached the height of its influence around the 8th and 9th centuries. During this period, Nakhon Chaisri became the center of the Dvaravati state on the western side of the Chao Phray River Basin. The rulers there believed alternately in Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism. The King of Dvaravati upheld and supported Buddhism and was revered as a Bodhisattva, or Buddha-to-be.
    The historical structures and objects of art built by Dvaravati craftsmen served as the models for those in other cities jandit is a pity that many of these artistic creations were destroyed and altered in subsequent periods. For example, Phra Pathom Chedi (The Great Pagoda) in Nakhon Pathom Province was originally built in the Dvaravati Period during the reign of King Mongkut (King Rama IV). Craftsmen built the pagoda over the stupa from the Dvaravati Period, and it is said to be similar to that of the Sanchi in India.
    Ancient craftsmen illustrated the stupa so that its original form can be traced, whereby the illustrations show many similarities with that of the ancient Chunprathon Pagoda. Major stucco decorations existing before the Phra Pathom Chedi was constructed can be seen today at the National Museum.
    If you visit the Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom, you'll see a seated Buddha image on one side of the pagoda. This Buddha image with a peaceful face and mysterious smile was built during the Dvaravati Period. It is one of the most beautiful and ancient Buddha images ever to have been discovered in Thailand.


    The White Stone Buddha Image, from thr ruined temple called "Wat Phra Men", authentic Dvaravati Style

    By the 11th century, the power of the Khmer empire began to expand, while the Dvaravati civilisation started to decline. The capital of the new empire was the mighty city of Angkor.
    But people should never forget the wonders of the Dvaravati Period, more ancient event than the glorious Angkor of the Khmers, and Nakhon Chaisri was it capital.


Wat Phra Men, ancient remains of the Dvaravati Period, in the south corner of Phra Pathom Chedi

The model of the original stupa inside Phra Pathom Chedi, an example of the olden day craftman's effort to restore a typical Chedi. However, this Chedi is not authentic Dvaravati Style
The priest, Prince Mongkut found the ruin of a large pagoda in the area of Nakhon Pathom Province, which was restored in the later reign and given the name, Phra Pathom Chedi.
In 1853, King Rama IV started to build Phra Pathom Chedito cover the ruin of the old pagoda, which was considered to be the oldest and highest pagoda in Thailand.
The above illustration was the picture of the celebration at Phra Pathom Chedi, which was drawn by Krua In Kong; the great artist in King Rama IV's reign.
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Dvaravati in the Tha Chin River Basin, Kitti Wattanamahatma, Kinnaree, Jan. 1997, P. 96-102
"RATTANAKOSIN BICENTENNIAL" An Iiiustrated Book on Historical Events, published by KURUSAPHA BUSINESS ORGANIZATION, 1982, P. 77, 116.