Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat is one of the most important religious centres in Thailand and the most visited place in Phitsanulok.
Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat is open daily from 06:30 to 18:00 and admission to the inner part of the temple costs 40 THB for foreign visitors.
About Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat
Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat was founded in 1357 by Maha Thammaracha I of the Sukhothai Kingdom. King Maha Thammaracha I was known as being particularly dedicated to Buddhism and his scholarly text about Buddhist cosmology is the earliest existing writings about Buddhist philosophy written in the Thai language. Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat in Phitsanulok is one of the physical manifestations of his religious devotion.
Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat receives a constant stream of visitors, mainly Thai people, from the minute it opens in the morning to the time it closes every day of the year. What makes the temple so popular as a place of worship and as a place to visit is the bronze Buddha statue cast at the time the temple was founded. The statue, known as the Phra Phuttha Chinnarat, was one of three bronze statues created to be enshrined at the temple. The legend is that three attempts were made to cast the Phra Phuttha Chinnarat before the image was successfully created.
The Phra Phuttha Chinnarat statue is 375 cm tall and (since the 17th Century) covered in gold paint. The Lord Buddha is represented in a seated meditation pose surrounded by an aureola (akin to a halo in the Christian faith) shaped like symmetrical flames. The statue is commonly credited by Thai Buddhists as being the most beautiful Buddha statue in Thailand. The hall in which the statue is kept is equally ornate with designs in gold paint on black lacquer work, intricate wall murals and lighting provided by two rows of crystal chandeliers.
Although the Phra Phuttha Chinnarat statue tends to be what most people come to Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat to see, there are other parts of the temple which are well worth exploring. Outside the walls surrounding the main temple is a standing Buddha (called the Phra Attharos) which was built around the same time the Phra Phuttha Chinnarat statue was cast. This standing Buddha, now painted in yellow and black, bears many similarities to the Buddha statues you can see at the temples in Sukhothai Historical Park.
Another very distinctive feature of Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat is its 36 metre high Khmer style prang, which is a type of tower with steep sides and a rounded top. Buddha relics are believed to be enshrined within the prang which has a small shrine inside that you can reach by climbing a flight of very steep and vertiginous stairs.
The inner part of Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat is surrounded by wall which has a roof creating a long covered area filled with a long row of Buddha statues are various sizes and designs facing inwards towards the inner part of the temple. The main building at the temple is a Lanna style shrine hall built in the 18th Century. The doors of the shrine hall are particularly ornate, inlaid with mother of pearl and a notable work of art in their own right.
Location of Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat
- Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat is located 1.4 km walking distance from Phitsanulok Railway Station.