Wat Maha That, “the temple of the Great Relic” was one of the most important temples in the Ayutthaya Kingdom. This temple was constructed in 1374 by King Boromma Rachathirat I with a design that follows concepts of the ancient Khmer mountain temples of Angkor in Cambodia. The post feature picture shows one of the most eerie and photographed objects at the temple. A stone Buddha head enveloped by by the roots of a tree.
I visited this archeological site as part of a large tour through Tour East Thailand operator. Booked through Viator it was called Thailand’s Ayutthaya Temples and River Cruise from Bangkok. It’s one of those majorly large tourist buses. However, I did enjoy the full day’s line up they presented which included the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace, Wat Maha That temple, Wat Lokayasutharam temple with reclining Buddha and a 3 hour River cruise with lunch. All for $65 USD included pick-up from the hostel.
Pick-up was early at 7:30am with 77km to cover to get to Wat Maha via stopping at the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace first.
Based on a series of magical and religious beliefs, devotees moved from the mundane world to a spiritual one by walking along one of the four axes. East, the direction of the rising sun, was auspicious, representing life and the sexual prowess of the male. Most of the Khmer temples were built with the entrance to the east, as this was the formal approach to most Hindu shrines. The West is considered inauspicious and represents death, impurity and the setting sun. North is also auspicious, while South has a neutral value.
There’s a rule to sit down when doing a selfie with this Buddha head, or any Buddha statue to not have your head higher than Buddha’s. Most Buddha statues are fixed higher up, except for this one. So there’s a sign and a guard to ensure that you sit down.
We completed this portion of the tour in the north by 11:50am with a 50min ride to get to the next portion of the tour, the 3 hr river cruise.