Sukhothai Heritage

Sukhothai Heritage

Someone you interested in heritage please do not missing Sukhothai.

Sukhothai was an early kingdom in the area around the city Sukhothai, in north central Thailand. It existed from 1238 till 1438. and was the capital of Thailand for approximately 120 years. The World Heritage Committee nscribed Sukhothai and Associated Cities on the World Heritage List in 1991. The old capital, now 12 km outside of New Sukhothai in Tambon Mueang Kao, is in ruins and is a historical park.

Wat Si Sawai, Sukhothai Historical Park

Chiang Saen was established in the early 700s and Mueang Sua (Luang Prabang) around AD 728 making them the first kingdoms established by the Tai-speaking people in southeast Asia, prior to the migration and expansion of the Tai-speaking people into northern Thailand, Laos, and eventually into central Thailand and central Laos.

The city of Sukhotai was part of the Khmer empire until 1238, when two Thai chieftains, Pho Khun Pha Muang and Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao, declared their independence and established a Thai-ruled kingdom. Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao later became the first king of Sukhotai, calling himself Pho Khun Si Indrathit (or Intradit). This event traditionally marks the founding of the modern Thai nation, although other less well-known Thai kingdoms, such as Lanna, Phayao and Chiang Saen, were established around the same time.

Wat Saphan Hin, Sukhothai Historical Park

Phra Achana Hand, Wat Si Chum, Sukhothai Historical Park

Sukhotai expanded by forming alliances with the other Thai kingdoms, adopting Theravada Buddhism as the state religion with the help of Ceylonese monks. Intradit was succeeded by his son Pho Khun Ban Muang, who was followed in 1278 by his brother, Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng. Under King Ramkhamhaeng the Great, as he is now known, Suriyothai enjoyed a golden age of prosperity. Ramkhamhaeng is credited with designing the Thai alphabet (traditionally dated from 1283, on the evidence of the controversial Ramkhamhaeng stele, an inscribed stone allegedly bearing the earliest known Thai writing). At its peak, supposedly stretching from Martaban (now in Burma) to Luang Prabang (now in Laos) and down the Malay Peninsula as far south as Nakhon Sri Thammarat, the kingdom's sphere of influence was larger than that of modern Thailand, although the degree of control exercised over outlying areas was variable.

After Ramkhamhaeng's death, he was succeeded by his son Loethai. The vassal kingdoms, first Uttaradit in the north, then soon after the Laotian kingdoms of Luang Prabang and Vientiane (Wiangchan), liberated themselves from their overlord. In 1319 the Mon state to the west broke away, and in 1321 Lanna placed Tak, one of the oldest towns under the control of Suriyothai, under its control. To the south the powerful city of Suphanburi also broke free early in the reign of Loethai. Thus the kingdom was quickly reduced to its former local importance only. Meanwhile, Ayutthaya rose in strength, and finally in 1378 King Thammaracha II had to submit to this new power.
Replica of Silajaruek Pokhun Ramkamhaeng
Replica of Silajaruek Pokhun Ramkamhaeng

The Silajaruek Sukhotai are hundreds of stone inscriptions that form a historical record of the period. Among the most important inscriptions are Silajaruek Pho Khun Ramkamhaeng (Stone Inscription of King Ramkamhaeng), Silajaruek Wat Srichum (an account on history of the region itself and of Srilanka), and Silajaruek Wat Pamamuang (a Politico-Religious record of King Loethai).

Sukhotai became a tributary state of Ayutthaya between 1365 and 1378. In 1412 Ayutthaya installed a chief resident, and King Thammaracha IV was installed on the throne by Ayutthaya. Around 1430 Thammaracha moved his capital to Phitsanulok, and after his death in 1438 the kingdom was reduced in status to a mere province of Ayutthaya.

Sukhothai, the ancient capital of this Thai Kingdom and now designated a world heritage site, occupies a special place in Thai heart as to most Thais, Sukhothai is a historical landmark representing the ascendancy of the Thai people and their culture. Sukhothai's magnificent sculptures and architectural structure occupy a unique place in the annals of art history and fills one with a sense of awe at the grandeur of its creators.

Its royal festivals, religious ceremonies, consecration of Buddhist monasteries and wealth of architectural styles represent an era where all round excellence was a hallmark.

You can get there by

*By Car the distance from Bangkok to Sukhothai is approximately for 427 kms. Travelling by car will
pass through many provinces and visitors can enjoy rural Thailand.

*By Bus take the air or non air-conditioned bus from Moh Chit
bus terminal, Kamphaeng Phet Rd., Tel. (02) 537-8055-6.

*By Railway. No direct trains to Sukhothai. One may travel by train to Phitsanulok and then take a local
bus to Sukhothai,a distance of 60 kms. For further information call (02) 223-7010, or (02) 223-7020.

*By Air you can take flight Bangkok Airways which has a daily flight from Bangkok to
Sukhothai. Please contact (02) 229-3456-63. The Sukhothai Airport is located some 20 kms north of the city. Thai Airways operate several flights daily to Phitsanulok. Please contact (02) 280-060-80.