Ayutthaya

Wat Mahathat – Temple of the Great Relics in the Ayutthaya Historical Park

Wat Mahathat (Wat Mahathat)

The world–famous Wat Mahathat Buddhist Temple is one of the most popular Buddhist temples in Thailand, thanks to the stone Buddha's head entwined with roots. Translated from Thai, the name of the Temple means "Temple of the Great Relic". Nowadays, the image of the Buddha's head is a symbol of the ancient capital of Siam, and Ayutthaya itself is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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The Buddha's head entwined with roots at Wat Mahathat Temple in Ayutthaya, Thailand

General information

During the heyday of the medieval state, the Buddhist Wat Mahathat was the largest in the country. It was a royal monastery and the residence of the head of the Buddhist community or Sangha. In 1767, after the devastating invasion of the Burmese, the Temple was not restored, so tourists can only see the ruins of thin baked bricks.

Mahathat Temple, Ayutthaya, Thailand

The history of the Buddha's head is shrouded in mysteries, one version says that after the Burmese attack, the statue lay in the ground for a long time, and the Bodhi tree that sprouted in this place (in Buddhism, the legendary tree under which Prince Gautama meditated, achieved enlightenment and became a Buddha) with its roots, it raised the Buddha's head to the surface.

The history of the temple

The construction of Wat Mahathat began in 1374, when King Boromoracha I ruled Ayutthaya, and was completed in the middle of the XVIII century under King Ramesuan. The temple complex corresponded to the traditions of the Khmer temple style, and the main tower (prang) resembled a corn cob in its outlines. The temple area was subsequently surrounded by high walls and a deep moat.

In 1767, Burmese troops invaded Ayutthaya. Temples were destroyed, shrines were destroyed and a prosperous city was burned. In 1911, prang Wat Mahathat collapsed, and searches for lost treasures were conducted near the ruins for a long time. Only in 1956, after conducting large-scale excavations around prang, Thai archaeologists discovered ancient relics that are still kept in the National Museum of Ayutthaya.

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March 27, 2024

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