Wat Phanan Choeng is well-known for its massive seated Buddha image, which is regarded as one of the most beautiful in Thailand. According to legend, tears were shed from the image’s eyes just before the Burmese destroyed Ayutthaya in 1767.
The temple is situated on the banks of the Pa Sak river, opposite the historical island’s southeast tip. The monastery, which also has a boat landing, can be seen from a riverboat.
19 Meter tall Buddha image
The temple’s main draw is its massive image of the Buddha. The Phra Chao Phanan Choeng brick-and-mortar image is seated in the posture of subduing Mara, also known as Calling the Earth to Witness. Luang Pho To is another name for the richly gilded U Thong style image. It is flanked by two adoring disciples, Sariputta and Moggallana, who were close disciples of the Buddha. The image was constructed in 1324, several decades before the founding of Ayutthaya. Because the viharn had not yet been built, the image stood outside after it was finished.
The Phra Chao Phanan Choeng is now housed in the Viharn Phra Phanan Choeng, a large assembly hall. Its walls are lined with hundreds of small images of the Buddha in niches.
The story of Princess Soi Dok Mak
Phra Chao Sai Nam Phung, a king who ruled before the establishment of Ayutthaya, is said to have desired to wed the daughter of an emperor from China, according to a legend.
When the boat carrying the Princess, known as Soi Dok Mak, arrived, the King was not there to greet her as she stepped off. The Princess was in such a state of depression after waiting for a very long time without success for the King to return that she chose to end her life by suffocating herself. When the King finally returned from his long journey, he discovered that his wife had died, and he was overcome with grief. He built Wat Phanan Choeng on the site where she had been cremated.
In the ordination hall, also known as the ubosot, three ancient statues of Buddha are seated on a raised pedestal. The three assume the posture of “Subduing Mara” or “Calling the Earth to Witness.” The one in the middle is over two and a half meters tall and is gilded. Walls throughout the ubosot have been painted with murals.
Chinese structure and the shrine of Lady Soi Dok Mak
A tiny, brightly colored Chinese temple adorned with dragons can be found close to the bank of the river. Fearsome Chinese warriors stand sentry at the entrance to the building.
Two separate structures have been merged into one. Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of compassion who is frequently portrayed as having a large number of arms, is honored on the building’s ground floor, which is located in the rear. She possesses a thousand arms, which enables her to assist a significant number of individuals all at once.
The shrine dedicated to Lady Soi Dok Mak and a statue depicting the Chinese Princess for whom the temple was constructed can be found on the highest floor.