Wat Phra Ratana Mahathat, Phitsanulok
Wat Phra Si Ratana MahathatThe most important construction in Phitsanulok stands near the bridge across the Nan on the edge of the old town. Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat can be recognized from a distance by its 36-m (118-ft) tall, Khmer-style prang, completed in 1482. The upper section of the prang is gold-plated. The wat was built at the end of the 15th c. by King Boroma Trailokanat (1448-88) as a symbol of his rule over the newly acquired area. The temple has been restored several times, which has greatly altered its appearance.The wiharn's steep roof is built of colored glass bricks (Bangkok period) and is in three layers; the tympanums are decorated by gold-plated coffered carving. Slender pillars flank the portico, giving the entire building an appearance of striking ease. The Buddha statues on either side of the portico are marvelous examples of the Sukhothai and the Chiang Saen styles. The ebony doors with mother of pearl inlays date from 1756.The wiharn is lit only by narrow openings in the low side walls. Its triple-aisled interior is one of Thailand's most beautiful sacral rooms. Dark blue, red and gold lend definite color to the pillars, which end as lotus buds, and to the strutted entablature.The wall paintings are more recent. The picture on the right depicts Buddha's enlightenment, the one on the left records the time in the life of the enlightened one, when he gave up all his worldly goods and dedicated himself totally to religion.
Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat - Phra Buddha Jinarat
The very eye-catching centerpiece is a statue of Phra Buddha Jinarat ("the victorious king"), a master work in the late Sukhothai style and cast in bronze aound 1350. It shows a seated Buddha in the gesture of invocation with a finely chased aureole in front of a dark blue background, embellished with stylized gold flowers and hovering forms. Several copies of this statue have been made; one of the last, commissioned by King Chulalongkorn, can be found in Wat Benchamabo-bitr in Bangkok. According to legend, at the time when Phitsanulok became the main town and the viceroy moved into it, this statue wept tears of blood. Not least because of this it is held in great esteem by local people.Some of the statues of Buddha surrounding the central figure are very beautiful. The elaborately carved teak pulpits are also of note. The larger one is used by a group of monks when singing Buddhist Pali texts, while texts in the Thai language are read out from the smaller one.The terrace, from which the prang rises, borders the wiharn. Steps lead to the reliquary. The gallery around the prang is filled with numerous attractive statues of Buddha in the Sukhothai, U Thong and Chiang Mai/Chiang Saen styles, as well as wood carvings and Chinese and Thai ceramics. Other buildings, including the bot, adjoin the gallery.By leaving the temple grounds via the main exit and walking round to the rear of them the giant statue of a standing Buddha and two other, modern statues of Buddha can be seen.