At weekends, Wat Phananchoeng Worawihan in Ayutthaya province is still crowded with Thai and foreign worshippers and tourists all day after last year’s big flood. Hundreds of people were spotted paying respect to the presiding Buddha statue, Phra Buddhatrairattananayok, during the half an hour we spent there on a recent trip. The situation was similar at eight other temples in Ayutthaya and two neighbouring provinces we visited. Visiting temples in flood-hit areas is an opportunity for us to learn how many temples coped with the disaster and why a few were spared by the floodwater.
Worshippers hold saffron robes above their heads while presenting the robes to Phra Buddhatrairattananayok, the presiding Buddha image, at Wat Phananchoeng Worawihan. Phra Buddhatrairattananayok, or Sanbaogong (the protector of seafarers), is in Wat Phananchoeng Worawihan’s smaller chapel (viharn ).