This royal temple, arguably the most significant temple in Ayutthaya, was built in 1374. The kingdom’s Supreme Patriarch resided here and many royal celebrations and ceremonies took place at this temple which is adjacent to the former Grand Palace.
The highlight of this temple is the giant Khmer-style stupa housing the Lord Buddha’s relic. The name “Wat Mahathat” means Temple of the Great Relic. The structure which collapsed after the Thai-Burmese war was said to contain the kingdom’s treasures. There were conflicting stories about where the gold, precious stones, and other valuables from this pagoda went. Some believe they were taken by the Burmese. Others think the looting occurred after the Burmese had left. A crypt holding Buddha’s relics and mural paintings were also found inside the stupa.
Tourists from around the world come here to see the head of a sandstone Buddha image entwined in the roots of a Bodhi tree. There are several stories behind this Buddha image’s head, one being that it was left here by a thief who had too much to carry. It was meant to be collected later but somehow that thief never came back.