Wat Lokayasutharam

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Timings : 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : THB 50

Wat Lokayasutharam, Ayutthaya Overview

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.

Though earlier, the statue of Lord Buddha used to be covered with an orange cloth, it is now exposed to the elements. People turn in huge numbers with flowers and incense sticks to offer their prayers. The centrally placed prang is what remains in a very good condition now. Towards the northwest of the Reclining Buddha is an interestingly designed Lanna-style chedi. The other structures at Wat Lokayasutharam seemed to have been eroding with time.

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Wat Lokayasutharam

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Architecture of Wat Lokayasutharam

There is a lot more to Wat Lokaya Sutha, besides just the Reclining Buddha. The entire temple is set up on an east-west axis. The central chedi and ubosot are in the courtyard, which again is surrounded by four chedis, one in each corner of the courtyard. These chedis, however, are in ruins. All that remains of them is their base. The ubosot, on the other hand, is a 14 metres wide and 33 meters long structure that is made up of brick. This place has six sema stones that mark the boundaries of its sacred area – a place where people used to come to obtain monkhood.

The 30 meters high central prang is the oldest structure built as a part of Wat Lokayasutharam. The remains of a stucco ornamentation can be seen at the head of this structure. There are also three viharns, that stand side by side in a line. These brick viharns are placed at the eastern side of the central area of the temple. The foundations of a gallery that surrounds the courtyard are all that remains of this place today.

Temple of the Reclining Buddha
The reclining Buddha Statue
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The main attraction of the temple that the Reclining Buddha. It is located on the western side of the central region and there is an altar with a miniature Buddha image right in front of it for people to be able to worship him and give their offerings. The entire image is made up of brick and mortar only. The image is also known as ‘Phra Buddhasaiyart’, and it depicts Buddha at the time of his death as he was entering Nirvana. The head of the image is seen resting on a lotus and the legs and feet overlap squarely at the opposite end of the body. The entire place is surrounded by a number of chedis that are of varying styles and sizes.

History of Wat Lokaya Sutha

Not much is known about the history of this very famous tourist spot. The structure is believed to be belonging to as early a period as the 14th century, by the historians. The royal importance of the temple can be understood from the remains of a moat around the structure. The canal making the moat used to start at the Chao Phraya river. However, during the Burmese attack in the year 1767, the structure of the temple was destroyed.

There have been a number of restoration programs that have taken place since then to bring back the old glory of the structure. The Reclining Buddha was restored by the Alcoholic Beverages Factory in 1954, followed by another restoration. The Prime Minister’s family made a number of renovations to Wat Lokaya Sutha between the years 1946-1947. The Fine Arts department has continued to maintain it since then.

Tips

  • Since it is a place of worship, be well dressed with knees and shoulders being covered properly.

  • No shoes are allowed inside the temple.

  • Do not hug or make any unnecessary physical contact with one and another.

  • Smoking is strictly prohibited inside the premises.

  • Do not point their feet towards the image of Lord Buddha as it is frowned upon by the locals.

How To Reach Wat Lokayasutharam

Wat Lokayasutharam is located on the western side of the Royal Palace inside the park that comprises of Wat Worachet and the original Wat Warapho. The place is, thus, easily accessible by taxi. The easiest access to the temple is by the western side of Khlong Tho. There is a small passageway that leads to it along with a newly constructed road. There is another third road in the southwestern corner which leads straight to Wat Lokaya Sutha.

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