wat mahathat

The famous stone Buddha head trapped in a banyan tree, at Wat Mahathat. When Ayutthaya was sacked by the Burmese in the 18th century, many of the stone Buddha statues were beheaded. One such head managed to find itself tangled in the trunk system of a banyan tree -  nobody knows exactly how or when - where it remains to this day.

It appears that the tree is slowly enveloping the head and that one day it will disappear completely - looking at older photos of this head and comparing them with more recent ones, I notice that it seems as if it’s sinking into the tree.

Swallowed by The Tree |  Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya, Thailand

One of the most famous attraction to see is the stone head of Buddha entwined between the roots of a tree. When the statues of Buddha were beheaded, this is probably one of the heads that rolled away and a tree grew from where it rested. 

This head is still considered sacred. There are chains surrounding it because it is not allowed to touch or come too near the statue. When taking photos or going closer to the statue, you must not be higher than it, and so you must be in a kneeling position. 

If you ever go to Ayutthaya (which I recommend), you will find yourself in the Land of Broken Buddhas. 

Originally a capital of Siam, and one of the largest cities in the world at the time (around the 1700s), it was eventually destroyed by the Burmese (which also led to the collapse of Siam), and now is a Thai city of magnificent ruins, most of which are Wats (typically a Buddhist Temple).

Most of the Buddha statues were vandalised during the sacking of the city, leaving eerie headless bodies, or, indeed, body-less heads. At Wat Mahathat, a Buddha’s head has mysteriously made it home within the roots of a Bodhi tree, it’s body having disappeared altogether.