Quite unlike any other site in the historical park, Wat Si Sawai was initially a Hindu sanctuary that was adapted into a Buddhist temple during the Sukhothai period. Exquisite lintels still grace parts of its three Khmer-style prangs, probably built when the Lavo (Lopburi) kingdom controlled the area as a branch of the Khmer empire.
Fronting the complex is a stone base and pillars of a Buddhist wihaan, the last structure to be built on the site. Expect to encounter visitors snapping selfies framed by the brick entranceway with the central prang in the background. From here you can step inside the musty reliquary, where an ancient image of Shiva was discovered in the early 20th century. These days it’s a prime nesting space for pigeons.
Ancient carvings can be seen on all three of the prangs, including some that appear to mimic designs found on Chinese Yuan Dynasty ceramics. One lintel depicts Vishnu reclining on a naga seat, while others display Kali’s wild-eyed grin and a range of other Hindu characters. The intricate details are quite incredible for a site that’s probably more than 1,000 years old.
Beyond the trio of prangs there’s not much else to see at Wat Si Sawai, but you could stroll beneath the broad old mango and golden shower trees or wander out to the back walls of the complex to avoid the selfie snappers.
How to get there
Wat Si Sawai is located in the south side of the historical park’s central zone. From here we suggest heading northwest to Wat Traphang Ngoen.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 16th June, 2016.