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Wat Phra Phai Luang Temple In Sukhothai, Thaiand's Ancient Capital

Updated on March 15, 2011

Wat Phra Phai Luang

Wat Phra Phai Luang
Wat Phra Phai Luang

Wat Phra Phai Luang
The temple at Wat Phra Pai Luang is the second largest of all the temples in Sukhothai. It was built in the 12th century by the Khmer king, Jayavarman VII. The temple is actually older than the ancient city of Sukhothai. Unlike many of the other temples in Sukhothai, the temple of Wat Phra Phai Luang has not been reconstructed, it lies in ruins and the Buddha images are missing heads in some places. It is thought that the temple of Wat Phra Phai Luang was converted to Thereveda Buddhist style after originally being built in the Khmer Hindu style.

Of the three towers that had originally been built at Wat Phra Phai Luang, only one is still standing. The Mandapa has four huge Buddha images ,each facing a separate direction, as well as the remains of the walking Buddha statue. The Phra Pai Luang Temple was presumably the main temple of the old town at the time of the Khmer before it was moved further south to its present position in the ruined city.

Wat Phra Phai Luang
Wat Phra Phai Luang

Wat Phra Phai Luang is located outside the Sukhothai Historical Park, outside the northern wall of the city. The temple is surrounded by a waterway 600 meters in length on each side, with a bridge providing access to the temple grounds. The temple of Wat Si Chum is just a few hundred meters away from Wat Phra Phai, there is a security gate with a ticket agent selling tickets for admission to the temple. Visitors must pay admission to enter the temple grounds, Thai Nationals are charged 20THB, and foreigners are charged 100THB. The fee is for access to both Wat Phra Phai Luang as well as Wat Si Chum. This standard of two tier pricing based on race is common practice in Thailand.

Sukhothai is considered to be the first capital city of Thailand. Sukhothai is said to have been the capital of the Thai Kingdom from 1238 - 1376. The Thai written language is said to be established in Sukhothai by King Ramkhamhaeng. Today the ancient city of Sukhothai is a World Heritage Site, and the temples and ruins have been reconstructed to what is believed to be their original state. Reconstruction began in 1976, and the Sukhothai Historical Park was opened to the public in 1988.

The largest of all the temples in Sukhothai is Wat Mahathat, in the center of the old city. Before the ancient city was built, the Khmer rulers had built Wat Phra Phai Luang, the second largest temple in Sukhothai, located outside the walls of the ancient city.


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