Wat Chaiwatthanaram was a royal monastery where the king and his descendants performed religious rites.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram is a Buddhist temple located within the ancient city of Ayutthaya, Thailand. It is located on the bank of the Chao Phraya River about 80 miles north of Bangkok. The temple was commissioned in 1630 by King Prasat Thong to honor his mother and it is built on the site of her residence.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram Complex
The Wat Chiawatthanaram Complex features a main pagoda in the center of the complex with four small prangs surrounding the pagoda. The pagoda is protected by a square wall with four chedi shaped chapels on each of the corners and four more stupas in the center of each wall. The architectural style is in the traditional Khmer style influenced by the Angkor temple in Cambodia.
The walled perimeter of the complex is a one meter wide wall with arched gateways on each side. The east entrance towards the Chao Phraya River is the main entrance and is the entrance the King used to arrive by boat.
The main Pagoda of the Wat Chaiwatthanaram temple is a 35 meter tall corncob shaped tower standing on a raised brick platform with a small prang on each of the four corners. On each side of the pagoda is a steep stairway that leads to an inner chamber of the pagoda. The inner chamber is not open to the public.
Inside the walls
Inside the perimeter walls is a sidewalk that connects each of the eight 25 meter tall chedis. This area was once covered with a wooden roof which was supported by columns. The remains of the columns can still be seen but the wooden roof is long gone.
Buddha statues are located in several places in the complex. Lining the inside of the perimeter wall was 120 gold and black Buddha statues but most of these statues are considerably damaged.
East of the walled complex towards the river is the ubosot (ordinations hall). Only the base of the ubosot with the main alter holding two seated Buddha statues remains.
Inside each of the chedis are Buddha statues seated on a pedestal. Two of these are shown in the photos below.
Outside the perimeter walls
Most of the interesting parts of the complex are within the perimeter walls but there are some other notable structures outside the perimeter walls. Near the main entrance into the perimeter wall is a large circular chedi which is shown in the first two photos below.
On the banks of the Chao Phraya River are two square shaped chedis which are on each side of the ubosot. These two chedis are shown in the final three photos of this post.
I always enjoy visiting historic places and I enjoy seeing architecture from different cultures. Visiting Wat Chaiwatthanaram is an interesting place because most of the large structures are in good condition considering their age but almost all of the Buddha statues are severely damaged.
Thailand is literally full of religious sites so it seems crazy to visit the same place more than once but I have visited Wat Chaiwatthanaram twice. In my six trips to Thailand, I have been to Ayutthaya two times and I have spent time at Wat Chaiwatthanaram on both trips. I just feel like Wat Chaiwatthanaram is a place that must be visited when traveling to Ayutthaya.