Nine Temples in Ayutthaya : Exotic Pilgrimage in the Historical City
The old city of Ayutthaya is packed with Buddhist temples. Some are prestige as they were since centuries ago while some become ruins with elegant structural designs. As paying homage to nine temples is considered a good fortune for those who make a visit to Ayutthaya, listed below are selected temples rich with cultural value to make your day special
One of the city’s landmarks, Wat Yai Chai Mongkol on the east of Ayutthaya is outstanding with a huge bell-shaped pagoda on an elevated square base surrounded by four smaller pagodas at the corners and a gigantic reclining Buddha statue at the entrance. The temple was built in 1357 for monks ordained and trained at the Monastery of Phra Wanaratanathen in Sri Lanka.
Situated by the river on southeastern corner of the city, Wat Pananchoeng is always packed with pilgrim who pay homage to “Luang Por To” the gigantic principal Buddha image is Subduing Mara Attitude which is 62 feet high. The image is considered as one of the largest, oldest, beautiful and revered Buddha images in Thailand.
Being part of the Royal Palace complex, the very large monastery of Wat Phra Si Sanphet comprises dozens of structures built for royal usage only, including three large elegant bell-shaped pagodas standing on an elevated platform. The pagodas house ashes of Ayutthaya kings. The temple once houses the gilded Buddha statue of Si Sanphet which stood 16 meters high.
Situated right in the heart of the Historical Park, adjacent to Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Viharn Pra Mongkolborpit houses a gigantic Buddha image. The gilded bronze Buddha image at the attitude of Subduing Mara is 40 feet high. The viharn and the image were badly destroyed by fire during the fall of Ayutthaya in April 1767. The restoration is done in 1950s.
Wat Ratburana is outstanding with the 15th Century Khmer Style Stupa symbolizing Mount Meru, the center of the universe in Buddhist and Hindu cosmology. Some of the fine stucco ornamentation is still visible as well as sculpture of mythical creatures namely Garudas and Nagas.
Wat Na Phra Meru is one of the most beautiful temples in the city as it could wonderfully survive the war. Tourists love to pay homage to the principal Buddha image, which is decorated like an ancient king, as well as the mural from the old days.
Wat Mahathat once enshrined Buddha relics and was the seat of the Supreme Patriarch of Buddhism. It once served as the venue of important royal ceremonies such as Royal Kathin. Most tourists come here for the head of Buddha sculpture that is encircled by the tree’s roots.
Built in 1353, Wat Phutthai Sawan is among the oldest temple in the city. It has a main Khmer-style prang stands in the mid of square cloister which houses hundreds of Buddha images. The prang represents the cosmic Mount Meru.
One of Ayutthaya’s most impressive temples, the Khmer style Wat Chaiwatthanaram is located opposite the South West corner of the historical island on the other side of the Chao Phraya River. A boat ride to the temple offer very nice views of this large, well preserved monastery.
How to get there How to get there: Ayutthaya is 60 miles north of Bangkok via highway 9.