10 Temples in Ayutthaya, take breathtaking photos and make merit at the same time.

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon - 10 Temples in Ayutthaya

Taking a trip to Ayutthaya but not visiting its temples renders a trip incomplete. In this post, I have included 10 beautiful temples in Ayutthaya for you which is guaranteed to satisfy photo buffs, as well as, those who like to make merit, because in addition to paying respect to the Buddha you will also be getting breathtaking photos to take home too.

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Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

This post would not be complete if there is no mention of Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, as this temple has the tallest pagoda (or locally known as chedi) in the province. And situated right behind the temple is the palace of King Naresuan the Great, which was built for the faithful to pay their respects. So, this destination has both spiritual and historical significance.

The Origin of the Chai Mongkhon Chedi
In the battle at Nong Sarai Subdistrict, Suphan Buri Province, King Naresuan rode an elephant into battle with the enemy and waged a hand-to-hand combat and eventually defeated Mangayo Java, the Viceroy of the Hongsawadi Kingdom (presently a part of Myanmar). Unfortunately, during the heat of the battle, the accompanying general could not keep up with the King, and according to customs at that time, had to be sentenced to death.

The ruling supreme patriarch at that time together with 25 senior monks petitioned King Naresuan to grant forgiveness to the soldiers. Thereafter, a large chedi was built instead to symbolize victory to proclaim the King’s honor and glorify his prestige. Thus, the “Chai Mongkhon Chedi” was built as we see it today.

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Wat Phanan Choeng

Wat Phanan Choeng

An ancient temple that existed before Ayutthaya. Its true original background is still unclear, but historical records indicate that the temple was built by King Sai Nam Phueng and named it Wat Phra Nang Choeng (actually, this temple has a connection with the story of Nang Soi Dok Mak, but I’d like to leave it aside for the time being as it is another very long story).

Don’t miss out to pay respect to Luang Pho To (Phra Trai Rattananayok)
Originally, Luang Pho To was named Phra Chao Phanang Choeng. It is a large Buddha statue, 14.20 meters wide and 19.20 meters high. It was established at the temple in 1868, 26 years before the establishment of Ayutthaya. The Chinese know him well as “Chao Por Sam Po Kong”, and was highly revered among the Chinese worshippers.

Besides Luang Pho To, Wat Phanan Choeng also has other important Buddha statues dating back to the Sukhothai period, such as the Phra Buddha Roop Thong (Golden Buddha Statue), Phra Buddha Roop Nark (Buddha statue made from a combination of gold, silver, and copper), and Phra Buddha Roop Poon Pan (a stucco Buddha statue) of the Ayutthaya period, enshrined within the ubosot (main chapel) decorated with beautiful wall paintings, for tourists to pay their respects.

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Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit

Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit

The temple was built in the early Ayutthaya period between 1448-1602. It enshrines Phra Mongkhon Bophit, which is a bronze Buddha statue in the Marn Wichai posture. It is 9.55 meters wide and 12.45 meters high, and reflects the ability to cast metal, especially bronze during the Ayutthaya period.

The temple structure seen today has been renovated several times, as it was hit by lightning during the reign of Phra Chao Sue, and even burned by the enemy until it fell into disrepair during the second fall of Ayutthaya. The last restoration was carried out in 1956 during the government of Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram. At that time, the Fine Arts Department found numerous Buddha images contained in the right chest of Phra Mongkhon Bophit. They are all now preserved at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum and Chantharakasem National Museum.

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Wat Maenangpluem

Wat Maenangpluem

A small temple in Ayutthaya that is more than 640 years old but not so well known. The temple is not as busy as other famous temples, but due to its peacefulness and shade, visitors will be able to fully soak up its long historical past when passing through the entrance arches.

According to available records, this was the temple that King Naresuan built as a dedication to a villager named Mae Pluem, who took him in one rainy night when the King was rowing a boat past her house.

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Wat Thammikarat

Wat Thammikarat

A temple built by a noble lord named Phya Thammikarat, son of King Sai Nam Phueng, who was the ruler before the founding of Ayutthaya. Later, during the reign of King Borom Trai Lokanat, it was restored and a larger temple was built. Inside the temple is enshrined the statue of Phra Thammikarat, which is a large bronze U-Thong art Buddha statue.

Wat Thammikarat

Unfortunately, during the second fall of Ayutthaya, the kingdom encountered a shortage of metal and the citizens had to forge weapons from metals taken from Buddha images. What remains today is only the head of the statue, which is already 2 meters high. Presently, the original head is now preserved at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum, but the temple has created a replica to let tourists make wishes and pay respects.

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Wat Na Phra Meru

Wat Na Phra Meru

If you’re visiting temples in Ayutthaya, I highly recommend not to miss this one as Wat Na Phra Meru is over 500 years old and is the only temple that has not been destroyed by the Burmese army making it complete in its architectural design.

The ubosot which is 50 meters long and 16 meters wide was built in based on the early Ayutthaya architecture. It enshrines the Buddha image in the Marn Wichai posture, cast in bronze with a royal uniform, 6 meters high and 4.4 meters wide. It is considered as the largest Buddha statue in the Ayutthaya period that has ever been recorded.

The temple was restored during the reign of King Rama III. He has kept the original design and moved the green stone Buddha statue, or Phra Khanthararat, an artwork from the Dvaravati period which is over 1,500 years old, and just 1 of the 5 statues that exist in Thailand, from Wat Mahathat to be enshrined in a small vihara (chapel), or locally known as Vihara Noi.

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Wat Choeng Tha

Wat Choeng Tha

In Ayutthaya, there are 2 temples that have the same name, one in Bang Pa-In District and the other at Muang District. In this post, I will be focusing on Wat Choeng Tha in Muang District.

This temple was built during the reign of King Ramathibodi I, or King U-Thong. However, no evidence can be found as to who actually built it. Later it was restored by Phya Kosa Pan during the reign of King Narai the Great. It was also the school attended by Mr. Sinn, or King Taksin the Great as well.

Unique features that can only be found here are the Five Pagodas of the Ayutthaya period, in which the structure was built on a square base with a temple protruding into the shape of a cross and the direction in which the temple is facing, i.e. towards the south.

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Wat Phra Khao

Wat Phra Khao
Wat Phra Khao

A small temple located in Bang Ban District. It is assumed that it was built during the Ayutthaya period around 1707. Its attractiveness may not be able to compete with other temples, for the faithful, this temple is not to be missed.

Because this temple enshrines Luang Pho Khao, a stucco Buddha statue in the Marn Wichai posture, arched eyebrows, slight smile, 2 meters side and 2.40 meters high. Bang Ban locals believe that whoever has a kind heart and adheres to Dharma, their wishes will be fulfilled if they pray here. They will also be blessed with a happy family and free from any harm. To show appreciation by those who have their wishes fulfilled will make merit with boiled eggs.

Besides Luang Pho Khao, the temple also has a wooden house with beautiful intricate patterns and enshrines the intact remains of Luang Pu Tim for the faithful to pay respect to.

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Wat Phailom

Wat Phailom

Another temple in Ayutthaya that is famous for its sacred objects especially bestowed from Luang Por Iad Inthawangso. He started making amulets at the age of 43 and has since proved to be highly popular among the faithful, especially the Somdej Langphai amulet (first edition, 1970).

Besides sacred amulets, the Reverend Luang Por Iad has also helped developed education by encouraging monks and novices to study Phra Pariyat Tham (the Lord Buddha’s teachings) and becoming a Dharma scholar, and simultaneously developing Wat Phai Lom School.

This temple is quite distant from the city and there is not much places to visit around the temple. It is, therefore, much more suitable for people seeking spiritual guidance than tourists.

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Wat Tako

Wat Tako

The trip to temples in Ayutthaya should be concluded with a visit to Wat Tako, which was known to be the residence of Luang Por Ruay Pasatiko, a famous Ayutthaya monk who took shelter during Buddhist Lent. The monk was famous for several outstanding sacred amulets known for bestowing compassion and engaging in trade. He is also renowned for his meditation practices.

In addition to the reputation of Luang Por Ruay, the temple also houses the Maha Chedi Mahathat Pasatiko pagoda. It was designed by Thailand’s national artist for Thai architecture. The top of the pagoda enshrines the Lord Buddha’s relics which was brought in from India, while the base holds the intact remains of Luang Por Ruay, for disciples and believers to pay their respect.

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Note:

At the time of writing this post, photos could not be taken on site. Therefore, information were sourced from;

  • The Tourism Authority of Thailand Ayutthaya.
  • Several images were purchased from Stock Photo.

The use of photos is intended for tourism promotion purposes only. If the owner of the photos wishes that their photos not be used, we will oblige by removing them immediately.

Reference
https://ww2.ayutthaya.go.th
https://www.onews.io
https://travel.trueid.net
https://go.ayutthaya.go.th
https://www.khaosod.co.th
https://www.faiththaistory.com
https://siamturakij.com
http://autofulltravel.com
https://www.matichon.co.th
https://www.talontiew.com