Wat Phra Si Sanphet is a significant historical temple. Considered to be the most important temple for the ancient royal family, Wat Phra Si Sanphet boasts of sculptures brought back from the famed Ankgor Wat in Cambodia.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon also referred to as the Mongkhon, is one of the primary temples found within the Ayutthaya Island. This particular temple is found to be located to the Southeast of the island and has been restored many times since its construction during the 14th century. Evidence of a vast moat surrounding the temple indicates it as one of the chief places of worship in the region. Although found to be ruined partially, Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon is functioning one to date with several monks being housed within the building. It is possible to view the Thai style quarters of the monks within its premises today as well. The local populace also makes sure to worship at the temple regularly making it extremely crowded on weekends. The numerous chedis or monuments bear witness to its historical origins.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram, located in Ayutthaya, Thailand is a renowned Buddhist Temple constructed according to the Khmer style. It was predominately a royal temple where the king, along with the rest of the royal family, worshipped in private. The holy shrine is situated bang opposite the South Western end of the highly popular Ayutthaya Historical Park. Tourists enjoying a boat trip on the Chao Phraya river can view the impressive Wat Chaiwatthanaram from afar as well. It is a common halting point for the tourist boats and dinner cruise vessels with the visitors enjoying the spectacular sight of the tall temple that is lit up at night. It also serves as a vantage sunset point with the tour guides making sure to provide their customers with a magnificent natural show amidst the river.
Wat Mahathat, also known as the temple of the great relics, is the place where Buddha relics were enshrined. The Supreme Patriarch, or the Holy Father sat here and commanded his disciples. The temple is said to have nearly identical structures to those in the Ankgor temple complex in Cambodia.
Wat Ratchaburana is one of the most important monasteries of tourist interest in the island of Ayutthaya. Known as the “temple of royal restoration,” the beautiful architecture of the 14th-century sanctuary laid in ruins until the Department of Fine Arts, Thailand undertook the extensive restoration of the site. Situated in proximity of Wat Mahathat as well as the Royal Palace, this temple is thought to be the most ancient monastery in the province of Ayutthaya. Wat Ratchaburana has evoked a lot of interest lately and is regarded to be a highly popular temple within the historical island at present. Visitors are permitted to climb about half way up the prang and onto the praying area. The chambers below the ruins were found to hold enormous treasures with the walls being decorated elaborately with beautiful murals.
Wat Phanan Choeng is one of the spectacular Buddhist temples found within the Historical Park of Ayutthaya. It differs from the other temples in the vicinity by being a living monastery that still follows the doctrine of Buddhist faith with people worshipping the statue of the sitting Buddha. Believed to have been constructed in the latter half of the 14th century, the ruins reveal an opulence and deep spirituality. Wat Phanan Choeng is most known for an enormous gilded statue of Lord Buddha in the traditional Mara or sitting posture. Legend has it that the statue shed tears during the rampage by the Burmese army in 1767 just before the temple was ransacked and looted of its possessions. The most scenic view of the temple is apparent from a riverboat on the Pa Sak River flowing along the region. The ancient temple also includes a pier for boats making it convenient to reach it by water.
Wat Suwandararam, the 'Temple of the Golden Star', is one of the surviving ancient temples in the UNESCO recognized World Heritage Site, Ayutthaya. Famed for its exquisite mural paintings, magnificent architecture and grandeur, the temple has served as an important symbol of legitimacy for the rulers of the Chakri dynasty. It continues to be revered by generations of Thai nationals, civilians and royals alike.
Built in the early phase of the Ayutthaya period, Wat Na Phra Men is also famously called the Monastery In Front Of the Funeral Pyre. A stunning place for worship with an extremely important history attached to it, it has one of the few unique images and statues of Buddha, which is a huge crowd puller. The temple is still active and conducts ceremonies as and when required. The architecture of this cultural heritage is no less an aspect of wonder, one that reflects the period it was built in. Wat Na Phra Men was registered as a National Historic Site in 1935.
Located near the old Royal Palace and Wat Phra Si Sanphet in Ayutthaya, Wat Lokayasutharam is the site of the largest reclining Buddha statue in Ayutthaya. It is 8 metres tall, 37 metres across and built entirely out of brick giving the temple the epithet of the "Temple of the Reclining Buddha". The statue is placed among several ruins which gives it a touch of extra beauty as the only complete structure in the whole area.
Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit is a temple which houses a 17 metre tall bronze gilded statue, said to be carved by the King Chairachathirat himself, after the death of his son. Legend has it that once the statue was moved from its original location to its current place, a bolt of lightning struck it and its head once fell off.
A one-of-a-kind temple, the Wat Phu Khao Thong or 'Monastery of the Golden Mount' located in Ayutthaya is unique for the diversity it offers to its viewers! Take the stairs to the top, and bask in the environs of the temple, with views of surrounding mosques, paddy fields, kampongs and the dynamic diasporic diversity that Ayutthaya has to offer. The temple is attached to a small monastery. Therefore, one can partake in and see the monks going about their daily business.
A versatile and unique temple complex, the Wat Thammikarat in Ayutthaya is certainly a maze runner waiting to be discovered and explored. It is an active monastery, so one can also experience the working of the traditional monastic order and Thai rituals and traditions. The reclining Buddha image at the temple has been revered and worshipped by generations of Thai people. The holy bathwater is believed to have previously cured several people of illnesses and ill luck.
The Wat Kudi Dao temple was the residence of the Phra Then Muni, an important priest who was the chief advisor of the Crown Prince at the time. It was abandoned after the Burmese invasion of 1767 but has been partially restored in recent times. In true Ayutthayan architechtural style, there is a central "main" stupa surrounded by 8 smaller ones.
Wat Tha Ka Rong is a temple complex that has escaped written mention in almost all found records, except twice when it was used as a base for invading armies. Inside, there are beautiful wooden works and impressive architectural styles. There is a must-see floating market very close to the temple where one can find a variety of food and othe products on the Chao Phraya river.
The semi-ruined temple is mainly popular for its biggest chedi, surrounded by a ring of elephant statues. That is why its name literally translates to "A Temple Surrounded by Elephants". It is said that a king had once discovered Buddha relics buried in the ground here, so he dug them up, paid homage to them, and buried them back right in. He then ordered the construction of a chedi over it which is the Wat Chang you see today.
Wat Phutthaisawan was a monastery built to commemorate the founding of the first capital city of Ayutthaya, and was sanctioned by the first king of the Ayutthaya kingdom, King Somdet Phra Ramathibodhi I. As per his orders, it was built on the location where his ministers and he used to stay before the city was established.
Wat Borom Puttharam is located on campus of the Rajabhat University and was built by the King Phetracha in teh 1600s. A unique feature of the entire temple complex is that the King had specifically requested that all the roofs be made from yellow glazed tiles.
Wat Phanom Yong officially translates to "The Temple of the Wet Nurse Yong". The still active monastery was built on a garden owned by a King's wet nurse and when she died, he built the temple in her honour. The temple was abandoned after the fall of the Ayutthayan empire, but till then it was maintained by the Yong family.
Another very active monastery along the U-Thong road, Wat Yanasen is located east of the Royal Palace. It contains all the major buildings required for a monastery such as a prayer room, sermon hall, monk's quarters, etc but the special thing about this place is its unique chedi, designed with arched porticos, indented terraces and coloured mirrorred tiles.
Wat Maheyong is a Buddhist monastery located just outside and on the Eastern end of the ancient city of Ayutthaya. The monastery lies in ruins although it had been restored several times in history. Believed to have been constructed as a meditation center in the 15th century, the red brick walls remain visible from afar. It has been declared as a national historical site by the “Fine Arts Department” of Thailand with the Buddhist monks being encouraged to preside over religious ceremonies held at the ordination hall (ubosot) during auspicious periods.
Dating back to the 14th century, the Wat Pichai Songkram temple was constructed in the heydays of glory of the city of Ayutthaya, when it was the capital of Thailand. With intricate interiors, the buddha temple holds a special place in the history and heart of its peoples - they had prayed in the sanctity of this temple for their victory agains the Burmese. Hence the name Wat Pichai Songkram or 'the temple of war victory'.
The Wat Samana Kottharam is a still active monastery, with a large portion of its structures still intact. There is a now defunct major canal system that passed along the front of the temple. The monastery features a statue of Buddha in a very rare 'Halting of Evil' pose, one that is not typically used.
Now that you know which temples in Ayutthaya are the ones to go to, get your fill of ancient temples that will take you back in time!
This post was published by Joysurjya Hagjer
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