Wat Chai Wattanaram Temple, Ayutthaya

My pink frog nosed tuk-tuk driver knew exactly where to take me before the crowds descended on Ayutthaya (the Siamese kingdom that existed from 1351 to 1767). We headed straight to the beautiful Wat Chai Wattanaram temple. Wat Chai Wattanaram is located on the West bank of the river, and so geographically, it’s a good idea to get this one out of the way early. You can then stop off at Wat Phutthai Sawan on the way back to the historical centre.

Ayutthaya Tuk-tuk

Wat Chai Wattanaram Temple

Wat Chai Wattanaram is one of the most impressive temples of Ayutthaya. It was built in 1629 by King Prasat Tong, possibly on the site of his mother’s cremation.

Wat Chai Wattanaram

 Main Prang of Wat Chai Wattanaram

The main Prang in the centre of Wat Cha Wattanaram is on an elevated square platform and surrounded by four lesser prangs in each of the corners. Four sets of stairs lead up to the Chedi on each side.

The main Prang has 7 layer of indentation creating a corn-on the-cob style Chedi and a lotus shaped tip. The rooftops of the lesser prangs in each corner are triple tiered.

Wat Chai Wattanaram

The Pagoda (Bell Shaped Chedi) at Wat Chai Wattanaram

The Chedi between the cloister and low Northern wall contains the relics of Prince Thammathibet (Prince Kung). It was constructed between 1733-1758 during the reign of King Borommakot to shelter the relics of his eldest son (Prince Thammathibet).  Royals records state that Prince Thammathibet had an affair with Princess Sangwal who was one of King Barommakot’s concubines. as this was a crime, the Prince was whipped to death. The King ordered the bell shaped Chedi to be constructed after the cremation.

Bell Shaped Chedi Wat Chai Wattanaram

The Chedi is a bell shaped brick and mortar pagoda that was built in late Ayutthaya architectural style. There are traces of red paint around the Chedi and the tip is tapered into a Long Chanai (tapered spire).

Stucco Relief Panel depicting the Life of the Buddha

On the Northeastern spired roof hall there are 3 stucco panels depicting the life of the Buddha. The bottom part shows the mountains, forest and wild animals. The middle section is of 3 rows of praying angels, their hands and heads touching the ground. The top part is a Prasat (castle) showing a Buddha image on a lotus, unfortunately the Buddha head is missing.

Stucco Wat Chai Wattanaram

Facebook Live from Wat Chai Wattanaram

I went live on Facebook from Wat Chai Wattanaram and the best part was when I went inside one of the Chedi’s and another tourist came in saying ‘Beautiful Buddha!’

https://www.facebook.com/templeseeker/videos/2052032315063750/

Why are Buddha heads Missing in Ayutthaya?

Many of the Buddha head in Ayutthaya have been removed or chopped off – this is certainly evident at Wat Chai Wattanaram. When Siam was invaded by the Burmese in 1767, they chopped the heads off the Buddha’s in protest. Following this invasion, the Siamese moved their capital to Bangkok.

Wat Chai Wattanaram temple Ayutthaya

Some guides will tell you that some of the Buddha heads were found in museums United States, and have not been returned to Thailand after this was requested. Luckily, a handful survived…

Wat Chai Wattanaram temple

Ayutthaya is just over an hours drive from Bangkok, two hours roughly by train. What’s your favourite Ayutthaya temple?

What to wear when Visiting Temples in Thailand

What should you wear when visiting temples in Thailand? Dress conservatively when visiting temples in Thailand. Wear trousers or a long skirt and cover shoulders.

A scarf is a good thing to have handy in Thailand as you can use it to cover yourself if you are wearing a vest top or maxi dress. Men should avoid shorts and wear t-shirts or a smart-casual shirt.

Silk Scarf Women Silk Scarves Soft Lightweight Shawl Wrap Fashion Green Peacock Satin Long Scarf...
  • High Quality Material--The Green Peacock Silk Large Scarf is made of 100% real mulberry silk, anti-allergy high quality, comfortable, soft and silky smooth.
  • Lightweight Size--The head scarf for ladies' size is 90 x 180 cm/35 x 71 in, very light weight and easy to carry in your handbag or travel luggage bag.
  • Multi Application--Exquisite women scarf can be used all year round. Animal patterns suit different ages and make you beautiful. You can wrap the scarf around neck or use it as a shawl.

You will need to remove your shoes before going up the temple steps so wear some comfortable sandals or shoes that you can slip on and off. Birkenstocks are a good option.

Birkenstock Gizeh, Women's Sandals, Onyx, 7 UK (40 EU)
  • Style: Birkenstock Classic Gizeh BirkoFlor
  • Shoe Type: Flip Flop Sandal
  • Fastening: Slip On With Adjustable Buckle

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is so important as it will help you with emergencies and unexpected costs on your trip. Make sure that you declare any pre-existing health conditions so that you are covered for those. Check your cover for accidents and medical care and also lost baggage or getting things stolen. Remember to report as soon as something goes wrong on your trip because some travel insurance companies require you to report something that you want to claim for within 24 hours. Read the fine print carefully when you sign up. I always recommend World Nomads. You can get a free quote here:

 

Further Reading on Backpacking

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