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Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat
Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat Review
Naresuan Road, named after the city's most illustrious son, the 16th-century Prince Naresuan the Great, runs from the railway station to the Nan River. North of this street you can find Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, a temple commonly known as Wat Yai (the Great Temple). Built in the mid-14th century, Wat Yai has developed into a large monastery with typical ornamentation. Particularly noteworthy are the viharn's wooden doors, inlaid with mother-of-pearl in 1756 at the behest of King Boromkot. Behind the viharn is a 100-foot corn-cob-style prang with a vault containing Buddha relics. The many religious souvenir stands make it hard to gain a good view of the complex, but the bot, or chapel, is a fine example of the traditional three-tier roof with low sweeping eaves, designed to diminish the size of the walls, accentuate the nave, and emphasize the image of the Buddha.
Within the viharn is what many consider the world's most beautiful image of the Buddha, Phra Buddha Chinnarat. It was probably cast in the 14th century, during the late Sukhothai period. Its mesmerizing beauty and the mystical powers ascribed to it draw streams of pilgrims—among the most notable of them was the Sukhothai's King Eka Thossarot, who journeyed here in 1631. According to folklore, the king applied with his own hands the gold leaf that covers the Buddha. Many copies of the image have been made, the best-known one residing in Bangkok's Marble Temple.
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