Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan is a historical site in the middle of the old city of Ayutthaya. It is a great example of Thailand’s rich cultural history.Up until the Burmese army destroyed it in the late 18th century, the temple, also known as the Temple of the Great Relics, was a significant center of Buddhist learning.Despite its ruinous state, the temple continues to attract visitors from around the world, who come to marvel at its impressive architecture and learn about Thailand’s fascinating history. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan ruins in Thailand.
History of Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan
During the 14th century, when King Borommaracha I was in charge, the temple was built. King Borommaracha I is known for starting the Ayutthaya Kingdom.The temple was an important place to learn about Buddhism and was home to a group of monks who spent their whole lives studying and practicing Buddhism.Over the centuries, the temple was expanded and embellished by successive kings, who added new buildings and sculptures to the complex.
Invading Ayutthaya at the end of the 18th century, the Burmese army destroyed a lot of the city, including the Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan.The temple was in ruins for more than two hundred years before a project to fix it up started at the beginning of the 20th century.
Exploring the Temple Complex
Despite the damage caused by the Burmese invasion, the Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan ruins in Thailand still boast an impressive array of structures and artifacts. Visitors can explore the temple complex and marvel at the intricate stonework, towering pagodas, and intricately carved statues. Some of the most notable features of the temple include:
- The Prang: This towering pagoda is one of the most iconic structures in the temple complex. Rising over 50 meters into the air, the Prang features ornate carvings and intricate stonework that attest to the skill of the craftsmen who built it.
- The Buddha Head: One of the most famous features of the temple is the Buddha head entwined in the roots of a banyan tree. This striking image has become a symbol of the temple and a popular subject for photographers.
- The Phra Attharot: This impressive stone platform features rows of carved Buddha images that date back to the Ayutthaya period. The platform is believed to have been used for ordination ceremonies and other important rituals.
- The Ubosot: This central shrine is where the temple’s most important ceremonies are held. The building features elaborate carvings and a beautifully painted ceiling that depicts scenes from Buddhist mythology.
Visiting Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan
The temple complex is open to visitors every day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is 50 baht for Thai nationals and 200 baht for foreigners. Visitors should dress modestly and remove their shoes before entering any of the temple buildings.
Getting to the temple is easy, with several transportation options available. Visitors can take a bus or train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya and then hire a tuk-tuk or motorcycle taxi to reach the temple. Alternatively, many tour operators offer day trips to Ayutthaya that include a visit to the temple.