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Ayutthaya Page 6 Wat Mahathat, Thailand.
Ayutthaya Page 6 Wat Mahathat, Thailand.

Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya, Thailand.

Wat Mahathat

The construction of Wat Mahathat was begun during the reign of King Borommarachathirat 1 in 1374 A.D. But was completed during the reign of King Ramesuan ( 1388-1395  A.D. ) When King Songtham ( 1610- 1628 A.D. ) was in power the main prang ( Khmer - style tower ) collapsed. The restoration work on the prang was probably completed in the reign of King Prasatthong ( 1630-1655  A.D. During the restoration the height of the prang was considerably increased.

Wat Mahathat was restored once again during the reign of King Borommakot ( 1732-1758 A.D. ) when four portico’s were added to the main prang. In 1767 A.D. When Ayutthaya was sacked, the Wat was burnt and has since then been in ruins.

Wat Mahathat was a royal monastery and served as a seat of the Sangaraja, the head of the Buddhist monks  of the Kamavasi sect, since the time of the Mahahthera Thammakanlayan, who was a contemporary of King Borommarachthriat 1 , and who built the Wat.

Wat Mahathat used to house an unusual Buddha image made of green stone as Buddha seated on a throne. In the Rattanakosin period King Rama 111 had the image moved to Wat Naphrameru.

During the reign of King Rama VI in the Rattanakosin period about 1911 A.D. The main prang of the Wat collapsed again and looters seized the opportunity to dig fro treasure. Only in 1956 did the Fine Arts Department undertake the excavations around the central area of the prang where the relics must have been kept. The relics of the Buddha were found in the Stupa within a seven - layer reliquary. Other antiquities were recovered as well, including Buddha images, votive tablets, covered boxes shaped like fish and golden plaques in the form of animals. All these objects are now at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum. There is no clear historical evidence of this Lord Buddha’s head, but it is assumed that when Ayutthaya was defeated by the Burmese army in B.E. 2310 the Mahathat temple was set on fire and entirely destroyed and as its result most of the images and parts fell to the ground. The temple was deserted for more than a hundred years and many  trees had grown at the spot covering the head or in B.E. 2500 when the Department of Fine Arts undertook the restoration might have gathered all the remains but could not complete. Second assumption is a thief might have tried to steal it, but due to its weight he could not carry it across the wall or someone had come to the scene and the thief left it there until the tree covered it as we see it today.

Ayutthaya Page 6 Wat Mahathat, Thailand.
Ayutthaya Page 6 Wat Mahathat, Thailand.