Photo: Shawled Buddha, Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat.

Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat

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Arguably the most impressive site in Si Satchanalai, Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat is layered with Mon, Khmer and Thai religious artistry, and is today an active royal-grade Theravada Buddhist temple set at the end of an oxbow in the Yom River -- don’t let the slightly out-of-the-way location keep you from coming.

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Also known as Wat Phra Borommathat Chaliang or Wat Phra Phrang, the temple is usually referred to simply as Wat Phra Si. The considerable presence of Khmer-style art hints that it could have been established as early as the 11th century, and it may have been a Dvaravati religious site even earlier. With the Yom flowing past to the east before looping back west, the land would have been seen as a suitable location for a sacred shrine or temple.

The main affair at Wat Phra Si. Photo taken in or around Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, Si Satchanalai, Thailand by David Luekens.

The main affair at Wat Phra Si. Photo: David Luekens

Delicate apsaras and other carvings join four striking faces representing the Mahayana Buddhist bodhisattva Avolokitesvara on a small tower above the front gate. A much larger Khmer-style corncob-shaped prang stands just beyond the gate and is in fantastic ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 300 words.)

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Popular attractions in Si Satchanalai

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