Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya or locally and simply Ayutthaya is a former capital of Siam (the old name of Thailand). The capital remained flourish for about 400 years so it was rich with historical places, most of which are temples with intricate architecture inspired by Khmer belief. Listed below are 8 historical temples in Ayutthaya that are awarded the SHA certificate that history enthusiasts shouldn’t miss!
1. Wat Phra Ram
One of the temples located in Ayutthaya Historical Park, Wat Phra Ram was built in the reign of the first king, King Ramathibodi I. The central Phra Prang and its four surrounded corner towers were inspired by Khmer belief and architecture. A mural dated back to early Ayutthaya era can be found inside the Phra Prang.
2. Wat Chai Watthanaram
Located on the bank of the Cho Phraya River, Wat Chai Watthanaram was built in King Prasat Thong era. The temple architecture was inspired by the belief of the shape of the universe in Buddhism and Hinduism.
3. Wat Yai Chaimongkol
Formerly known as Wat Pakaew, Wat Yai Chaimongkol is an old temple that dated back to the beginning of Ayutthaya era. Its name is derived from a Chedi name “Chaimongkol” that was built in King Naresuan the Great era after the victory of the elephant duel with Crown Prince Mingyi Swa.
4. Wat Ratchaburana
Also located in the Ayutthaya Historical Park, Wat Ratchaburana is well-known for the main Prang surrounded by four Sri Lankan stupas which is one the finest in Ayutthaya. Inside the Prang are old murals dated back to Ayutthaya era depicting the history of the Lord Buddha.
5. Wat Maheyong
Wat Maheyong was built in King Borommarachathirat II era. The temple’s Chedi platform is supported by elephant sculptures, inspired by Phra Chedi Chai in Sri Lanka. The large Ubosot is located at the east of the temple.
6. Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Wat Phra Si Sanphet is considered as the holiest and most beautiful temple of the ancient capital Ayutthaya until it was destroyed by the Burmese during a war. The Chedi enshrines the relic of the three kings from Ayutthaya era. The temple’s most well-known characteristic is a large Buddha image named “Phra Si Sanphet” that was destroyed during the Burmese war until it was left with only the bronze core.
7. Wat Mahathat (Ayutthaya)
This is another ancient temple located in the Ayutthaya Historical Park. Wat Mahathat was consider as the center of Buddhism in Ayutthaya era. Many important ceremonies took place here as the temple was the Royal monastery. The most famous characteristic of the temple is the head of the Buddha image embedded in the roots of a Banyan tree.
8. Wat Phanan Choeng
Wat Phanan Choeng is located on the bank of Pa Sak river. The temple was built 26 years before the founding of Ayutthaya. The large Buddha statue named Luang Pho Tho, also commonly called Sam Pao Kong by Thai-Chinese people, is believed to bless mariners with a safe trip if pay respect to. Also located in the temple is a Chinses shrine that houses Soi Dok Mak Goddess who grant a blessing in love life.