Believed to be the spiritual centre of Early Ayutthaya Period, Wat Mahathat was the royal ceremonial ground for both religious and non-religious affairs before King Trailoknat replaced it with Wat Phra Si Sanphet. Built before Ayutthaya became the Siamese capital, the temple features a Khmer-style prang (now collapsed) which was used to enshrine a miniature casket containing the Buddha’s relics (now on display at Chao Sam Phraya Museum). Apart from the principal prang, Wat Mahathat is the site of the lone Buddha’s head entrapped by the roots of an overgrown banyan tree – today a popular icon of Ayutthaya. The head is closely guarded around the clock, and even the slightest gesture of disrespect (e.g. taking photographs while standing over the Buddha’s head) will not be tolerated.
Location: Ayutthaya Historical Park, corner of Chikun and Naresuan Roads
How to get there: From Rojana Road, turn right into Chikun Road and continue straight until you reach Naresuan Road