Photo: Standing Buddha at Wat Mahathat.

Wat Mahathat

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Once the Sukhothai kingdom’s principle royal monastery, Wat Mahathat is now one of the most impressive ancient religious sites found anywhere in Thailand. Its ruins sprawl over a large chunk of land at the heart of the historical park’s central zone. Be sure to explore slowly enough to notice the delicate details enduring in the shadows of towering chedis, prangs and Buddha images.

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Officially known as Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat (Monastery of the Great Sacred Royal Gem Chedi), this is one of many Thai temples with similar names -- another impressive site with the exact same name is found up in Si Satchanalai. It’s a name that always signifies utmost importance surrounding a large chedi where sacred relics are enshrined. By these standards, Sukhothai’s Wat Mahathat sets a high bar.

Keep an eye on the details. Photo taken in or around Wat Mahathat, Sukhothai, Thailand by David Luekens.

Keep an eye on the details. Photo: David Luekens

Surrounded by laterite walls and moats, the complex ebbs around a graceful chedi topped with a Sukhothai-style finial designed in the shape of a lotus bud. It’s believed that bones and ash from the historical Buddha’s body were brought from Sri Lanka and placed in the chedi’s ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 400 words.)


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