The Riddle of Ayutthaya
Why major temples in this ancient city are oriented to the same direction at northeast (azimuth 85 degree) ..... is there any connection to the name Ayutthaya or Ayodhya?
According to the most widely accepted version “The Ancient Ayutthaya was a Siamese Kingdom (present day Thailand) that existed from 1351 to 1767 AD. Ayutthaya is Royal City of the Kingdom named after “Ayodhya” the birthplace of Lord Ram in India that is why the physical evidences of Indian influence are clearly seen all over the place. Ayutthaya Thailand and Yogyakarta Indonesia are twin cities of indianization in Southeast Asia 1. It is well known that Hinduism is closely related with astronomy their mythology and literatures are fully loaded with the astronomical phenomena such as equinoxes, solstices, zodiacs and nakshatras. Hindu calendar is corresponded to the solar year of 12 zodiacs with combination of lunar cycles called “Lunisolar Calendar” that came into Ayutthaya Kingdom via the Angkorian Empire as Saka Calendar.
Large number of ancient temples and cities in Thailand such as Sukotai, Chiangmai, Lopburi and Ayutthaya are under architectural influence of the Angkorian Empire. The most famous ancient khmer temple "Angkor Wat" is aligned to the four astronomical points North - South, East - West 2
The modernized Indian National Calendar has its root from the ancient Saka Calendar that is astronomically oriented to the solar year of 12 zodiacs. New Year (first day of Month Chaitra) begins on vernal equinox (22 March in the normal year 365 days and 21 March in the leap year 366 days)3
Ayutthaya Thailand and Yogyakatar Indonesia are twin cities of the original Ayodhya the birthplace of Lord Ram in India
The Hindu Calendar or Saka Calendar were widely recognized among the Southeast Asia civilization
The most famous ancient khmer temple "Angkor Wat" is aligned to the four astronomical points, thus during astronomical phenomena called vernal equinox (21 - 23 March) and autumnal equinox (23 - 26 September) visitors will enjoy seeing the amazing sunrise and sunset at the main tower
Magnetic compass and GPS showed that Angkor Wat is aligned to the four astronomical points
Apart from the Angkor Wat many ancient khmer temples in Cambodia and Thailand are also astronomically oriented
Vernal and autumnal equinocial sunrises can be observed at the center of these temples
Keywords in astronomy
Season, Vernal Equinox, Autumnal Equinox, Summer Solstice,
Winter Solstice, Zodiacs, Sunpath and Azimuth
The 4 seasons are occurred when Earth is orbiting around the sun with approximately 23.5 degree of axis tilt
Vernal Equinox: day and night are equal (beginning of spring season)
Summer Solstice: the longest day
Autumnal Equinox: day and night are equal (beginning of fall season)
Winter Solstice: the longest night
Sunpath of 4 seasons
Summer solstice: sun rises and sets at the northern most of horizon
Vernal and Autumnal Equinox: sun rises at due east and sets at due west
Winter Solstice: sun rises at the southern most of horizon
Zodiac: is an ancient Greek word means circle of animals there are 12 zodiacs (12 constellations) when Earth is orbiting around the sun in anti-clockwise direction it causes changing background of zodiacs from one to the others. Sun stays in each zodiac about one month and completed 12 zodiacs in one year
The 12 zodiacs are seen by naked eyes at the point of sunrise, for an example this picture shows sun is rising at zodiac Pisces on the day of vernal equinox 21 March. After one month sun will move to the next zodiac Aquarius, Capricorn, Sagittarius and so on until completed the 12 zodiacs
Azimuth is an arabic word means "direction" it is an angular measurement from true north or geographic north to any point in a spherical coordinate system, normally it is measured by the clockwise direction
Astronomy in the Royal Court of Ayutthaya
Since the dawn of Siamese History, the High Priest called Brahmin or Purohita in the Royal Court had been playing great role in various rituals and ceremonies they were regarded as Royal Astrologer with high knowledge in astronomy. Thus most of the ancient Siamese Royal Cities like Sukotai and Chiang Mai are related to some kind of astronomical events.
Indian astrological new year called “Maha Songkran” recognized by Ayutthaya dynasty is scheduled when sun is shifting from Zodiac Pisces to Zodiac Aries, however this astronomical phenomenon is significantly related to the birthday of Lord Ram. There are scientific evidences to demonstrate that Ayutthaya's major temples are oriented to this sacred event. The name Ayutthaya means "invincible" derived from the original Ayodhya City birthplace of Lord Ram on the right bank of River Sarayu in India
There is a strong belief that Lord Ram was born on 10th January 5114 BC 9th day after new moon in Chitra luna month and sun was in Aries
The name Ayutthaya means "invincible" literally derived from the original Ayodhya City birthplace of Lord Ram in India
Ram Navami is the bithday of God Rama the 7th avatar of Vishnu falls on the 9th day of waxing moon in the Hindu Calendar month of Chaitra typically occurs in the Gregorian month of Marc or April
Astronomical calculation found that the most closer to phenomena of Lord Ram’s Birthday at location on the east bank of Chao Phraya River (would be Ayutthaya) fall on March 29 - 30, 1349 AD when the moon phase was 9 days of waxing as well as sunrise was positioned at azimuth 85 at the door of Zodiac Aries
Waxing moon 9 days old on 29 March 1349 AD
Sun is positioned at azimuth 85 while moving from zodiac Pisces to Aries on 30 March 1349 AD, this is astrologically called "Maha Songkran"
Major temples of Ayutthaya are aligned to the astronomical phenomena synchronized with birthday of Lord Ram ....... "the sacred direction"
This is the reason why well known temples in Ayutthaya such as Wat Maha Thad, Wat Rajburana, Wat Sri San Phet, Wat Na Phra Meru and Wat Phra Ram are oriented to azimuth 85 in order to represented birthday of Lord Ram or Ram Navami. The following photos of Google Earth showing major temples in the ancient city of Ayutthaya are aligned at 85 degree ..... "the sacred direction"
Wat Maha Thad
Wat Rajburana and Wat Maha Thad
Wat Phra Sri San Phet
Wat Phra Ram
Wat Na Phra Meru
Wat Lok yasutharam
How these temples are managed to align at azimuth 85
Since azimuth 85 is recognized as "the sacred" of Lord Ram's birthday, the first temple in ancient Ayutthaya must be oriented to this direction by mean of mathematical manipulation supervised by the Purohita or Bhramin who are expertise in astronomy and astrology. Once the first temple is completed it becomes a model for replication of other temples located anywhere in the city, the procedures are as followings
All these major temples are oriented to azimuth 85, one of them must be the original that aligned to the sacred direction of Lord Ram's birthday
1.Find out the astronomical 4 points of cardinal by mean of shadow plot, this method had been practicing in the ancient day of the Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Indian 7.
the astronomical 4 points of cardinal can be found by shadow plot
2.The 4 points of cardinal is drawn on the ground where the first temple suppose to be constructed to match with "sacred direction". Two poles are deployed to point at the sun on the day of Ram Navami and here we have alignment of azimuth 85
3.Draw the temple's floor-plan to match with alignment of azimuth 85
4.After the original temple with sacred direction was constructed, the rests can be easily replicated by mean of geographical and mathematical method.
Ground survey and astronomical phenomena ........ confirmed the story
On the other hand, ground survey with GPS and magnetic compass at Wat Maha Thad (the main temple of Ancient Ayutthaya City) also showing the same result of azimuth 85. On the early morning of 4 April and 9 September you will see sunrise exactly at the centerline of this temple, this astronomical phenomena is the same as Prasat Panom Rung in Burirum Province (ancient Khmer temple built around AD 1000 - 1300)
On 21 September 2015 a group of professional tour guides were conducting astronomical ground survey at Wat Maha Thad
The electronic compass and GPS showed azimuth 85
Magnetic compass also showed the same result at azimuth 85
magnetic compass at the centerline of Wat Maha Tad
Magnetic compass showing Azimuth 85 at the centerline of Wat Maha Tad
Computerized simulation of sunrise at the centerline of Wat Maha Tad on 4 April and 9 September (Azimuth 85)
Astronomical alignment of Wat Maha Tad
Sunpath on 4 April and 9 September at Wat Maha Tad (sunrise Az 85 sunset Az 275)
Amazing ....... the same astronomical phenomena is happening at Prasat Panom Rung (ancient Khmer temple) Burirum Province 250 Km away
What had happening on the day of royal ceremony to inaugurate Rattanakosin City "The Second Ayuthaya"
King Rama I built the new royal city called "Rattanakosin" in BE 2325 to replicate the ruined Ayutthaya, so the royal ceremony to laid foundation pillar was conducted on Sunday morning 06:54, 21 April BE 2325 (AD 1782)
Thai website mentioned the royal ceremony to laid foundation pillar for Rattanakosin City on Sunday 21 April BE 2325 (AD 1782) corresponding to the traditional Thai Lunar Calendar of waxing moon 10 days old in the 6th month Chula Saka 1144
Thai website told story of what had happening on the day of royal ceremony to inaugurate Rattanakosin City, there were 4 small snakes found at the bottom of earthen pit where foundation pillar supposed to be laid. The ceremony had to be continued as scheduled so the poor snakes were buried alive in the pit.
The astronomical program shows that on the inauguration of Rattanakosin City 06:54 21 April BE 2325 (AD 1782) sun was moving from Pisces into Aries
There was a comet (presently named SOHO) appeared in the horizon close to the sun but invisible by naked eyes
The comet is invisible by naked eyes due to the sunlight (right) but when "hide daylight" (left) it is clearly seen
Lord Ram still alive in the Thai Culture
Thai society is full loaded with story of Lord Ram, many public infrastructures, Government institutes and private business are named after Lord Ram. Many roads and bridges in Bangkok are RAMA and one of the outstanding hospital and nursring school are named "Ramathibodi". Ramayana is the most popular story for national cultural shows. Despite to the modernization lifestyle, Lord Ram is still living with the Thai society.
Why Wat Chaiwattanaram and Wat Phutai Sawan are oriented to azimuth 70
It is quite strange that Wat Chaiwattanaram and Wat Phutai Sawan located on the west bank of Chao Phraya River are aligned to azimuth 70 much different from the other temples in Ayutthaya City. So far there is no satisfactory explaination and more over they are exactly the same as Wat Arun in Bangkok Metropolitan (previously Thonburi). Amazingly all these three temples having the same astronomical events of sunrise and sunset with Prasat Phimai (an ancient Khmer temple) in Nakon Rajasima or Korat Province.
Wat Chai Wattanaram shows east - west orientation at azimuth 70 - 250
Wat Chaiwattanaram and Wat Phutai Sawan are located on the west bank of Chao Phraya River and both are aligned at azimuth 70
Wat Chaiwattanaram Wat Phutai Sawan and Wat Arun are aligned at exactly the same azimuth 70 and located on the west bank of Chao Phraya River
on 21 September 2015 a group of profession tour guides were conducting an astronomical survey at Wat Chai Wattanaram
The magnetic compass and electronic compass showed that Wat Chai Wattanaram is oriented to azimuth 70
Coincidently with Prasat Phimai?
Prasat Phimai in Korat Province (gateway to northeast of Thailand) about 200 Km from Ayutthaya has the East - West alignment at azimuth 70 - 250
Prasat Phimai (ancient Khmer temple) in Korat Province has amzingly astronomical events of sunrise and sunset on 20 - 22 May, 23 - 25 July and 27 - 29 Jan, 13 - 15 Nov
This computerized graphic shows that Wat Chai Wattanaram and Wat Phutai Sawan in Ayutthaya as well as Wat Arun in Bangkok are having the same astronomical events with Prasat Phimai. How and why they happened to be the same are still riddle!
2 Angkor Wat Time, Space, and Kingship by Eleanor Mannikka
About the Author
Name: Sansonthi Boonyothayan
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: sansonthi boonyothayan
Status: Retired Agricultural Officer of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Thailand
Special interest: Private Researcher in Archaeo-Astronomy
Special Job: Teaching Earth and Space (English Program) at Tad Narai Wittaya School Sakon Nakhon Thailand