Wat Mahathat: See the Iconic Temple in Ayutthaya
Welcome to Ayutthaya, a city steeped in history and home to numerous ancient temples.
One of the most iconic and revered temples in Ayutthaya is Wat Mahathat.
This magnificent temple holds great significance and offers visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Thailand.
In this article, we will embark on a journey to explore the beauty, history, and spiritual essence of Wat Mahathat.
Wat Mahathat: A Glimpse into History
At the heart of Ayutthaya’s UNESCO World Heritage Site lies Wat Mahathat, a temple that dates back to the 14th century.
Built during the reign of King Borommarachathirat I, Wat Mahathat served as the spiritual center of the Ayutthaya Kingdom.
It stood as a testament to the power and grandeur of the Siamese civilization.
The Architecture of Wat Mahathat
Wat Mahathat is renowned for its impressive architectural design.
The temple features a central prang, or tower, surrounded by intricate prangs, chedis, and viharns. These structures showcase the exquisite craftsmanship of the Ayutthaya period and provide a visual treat for visitors.
The central prang, rising majestically towards the sky, symbolizes Mount Meru—the mythical center of the universe in Buddhist cosmology.
Its elaborate details and decorative motifs make it a true marvel of ancient Thai architecture.
The Enigmatic Buddha Head
One of the most captivating attractions at Wat Mahathat is the famous Buddha head entwined in the roots of a Bodhi tree.
Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand
Over time, the roots have grown around the head, creating a mesmerizing sight that has become an iconic symbol of Ayutthaya.
The presence of the Buddha head amidst the roots evokes a sense of mystery and spiritual significance.
Visitors are often left in awe of this remarkable phenomenon and the stories it holds within its silent gaze.
Exploring the Temples and Ruins
The Ruins of the Ubosot
The Ubosot, or ordination hall, was once a grand structure where important religious ceremonies took place.
Today, the ruins of the Ubosot offer visitors a glimpse into the past, showcasing the intricate architectural details that adorned the hall.
As you explore the ruins, imagine the chanting of monks and the vibrant ceremonies that once filled this sacred space.
The remnants of the Ubosot serve as a reminder of the spiritual significance and historical importance of Wat Mahathat.
The Central Prang
Standing tall amidst the ruins, the Central Prang captivates with its unique architectural style.
Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand
This octagonal prang features intricate stucco designs and exquisite sculptures depicting mythical creatures and celestial beings.
The Central Prang, with its elegant proportions and intricate details, reflects the artistic prowess of the Ayutthaya period.
As you admire this impressive structure, you can’t help but feel a connection to the rich cultural heritage of Thailand.
Unfortunately, the central Prang has already collapsed since the 18th century.
The excavation found out the Buddha’s relic was placed in a 7-tier Casket and was buried 10 meters beneath the Prang.
Wat Mahathat stands as a testament to Thailand’s rich cultural heritage and serves as a window into the glorious past of Ayutthaya.
Its awe-inspiring architecture, enigmatic Buddha head, and historical ruins make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a deeper understanding of Thailand’s history and spirituality.
As you explore the temple grounds, immerse yourself in the stories woven within its ancient walls.
Feel the reverence in the air and let the serenity of the surroundings transport you to a bygone era.
Wat Mahathat awaits, ready to offer you an unforgettable journey into the heart of Ayutthaya.
FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)
1.Q: What is the best time to visit Wat Mahathat?
A: The best time to visit Wat Mahathat is during the cooler months of November to February. The weather is pleasant, making it comfortable to explore the temple and its surroundings. Additionally, the annual Ayutthaya World Heritage Fair takes place in December, offering visitors a unique cultural experience.
2.Q: How do I get to Wat Mahathat?
A: Wat Mahathat is located in Ayutthaya, approximately 80 kilometers north of Bangkok. Visitors can reach Ayutthaya by train, bus, or private car. Once in Ayutthaya, the temple is easily accessible by tuk-tuk or on foot, as it is situated in the historical park area.
3.Q: Are there any dress code requirements?
A: Yes, visitors are required to dress appropriately when visiting Wat Mahathat and other temples in Thailand. Both men and women should cover their shoulders and knees. It is also customary to remove your shoes (but at the ruin site, this is not necessary) before entering the temple buildings as a sign of respect.
4.Q: Can I take photographs inside Wat Mahathat?
A: Yes, photography is allowed inside Wat Mahathat. Capture the beauty of the ancient architecture, the Buddha statues, and the captivating Buddha head entwined in the tree roots. However, it is important to be respectful and avoid using flash photography, especially in areas of worship.
5.Q: Are there any guided tours available?
A: Yes, guided tours of Wat Mahathat and Ayutthaya are available (but not around the temple area; you have to book in advance; mostly tourists book a day tour from Bangkok). Engaging a knowledgeable guide can enhance your experience by providing historical and cultural insights. You can book guided tours through travel agencies or join group tours organized by local operators.
6.Q: What are some nearby attractions to explore after visiting Wat Mahathat?
A: After exploring Wat Mahathat, there are several other fascinating attractions to visit in Ayutthaya. Some notable sites include Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Ratchaburana, and the Ayutthaya Historical Park. These sites offer further exploration into the ancient capital’s rich history and architectural wonders.