Nepali Times introduces history of Thailand through Buddhist architecture in an eight-part series.
The Sukhothai Kingdom was a post-classical Thai kingdom in Mainland Southeast Asia surrounding the ancient capital city of Sukhothai in present-day north-central Thailand.
It was founded by Si Inthrathit in 1238 and existed as an independent polity until 1438, when it fell under the influence of the neighboring Ayutthaya after the death of Borommapan (Maha Thammaracha IV).
Sukhothai was originally a trade center in Lavo-itself under the suzerainty of the Khmer Empire-when Central Thai people led by Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao, a local leader, revolted and gained their independence. Bang Klang Hao took the regnal name of Si Inthrathit and became the first monarch of the Phra Ruang dynasty.
Therefore, the art of Sukhothai was partially influenced by Khmer art before it rapidly developed its own stylistic features. The Sukhothai Period is considered as the period during which Thai art, especially the sculpture are, highly flourished.
It is generally regarded as one of the Thai historical period which produced the most beautiful Buddha images. Beside, the influence of Singhalese Teravada Buddhism from Sri Lanka and that of the Mon kingdom in lower Burma, which might have directly spread into Sukhothai or infiltrated there through Lamphun, beneficially helped to make the Sukhothai architectural art much more refined.
The religious architecture of the Sukhothai Period maybe divided into two types that are the structures of in the form of a stupa and the an ubosot, a wihan or vihara.