Wat Phanan Choeng

Wat Phanan Choeng

Where : Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000

Category : Travel / Attractions

Updated by : Admin

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The viharn contains the oldest, largest and most beautiful Buddha image of all, the Phra Chao Phananchoeng. It is 14.25 meters wide and 19 meters high, made of mortar, primed with black lacquer and covered with gold leaf. The shape of face and broad facial features confirm that this Buddha image is of the period of second generation U Thong style Buddha images.

What / Why :

Overlooking the river on the opposite bank from the main city, Wat Phanan Choeng was founded shortly before the establishment of Ayutthaya as the Kingdoms capital. Its main building enshrines a huge, seated Buddha image, that is 57 feet tall an object of particular devotion to Thais of Chinese origin. This principal image called Phrachao Phananchoeng was built of stucco in the attitude of subduing evil in 1325. The temple is a popular stopover for riverboat cruises along the Maenam Chao Phraya. This temple can be reached by boat from the fortress ruins.

Wat Pananchoeng predates the founding of Ayutthaya. The temple is Buddhist but also has a Chinese character in side and around it are numerous Chinese Temples for numerous Chinese Gods and other Deities. It is not known who built it.


Behind the Buddha in the walls are hundreds of niches containing small Buddha images that represent donations by devotees. Thai people revere this Buddha and pray to it for good luck. It has been subject to many restorations by the varying kings of Ayutthaya, including a complete renovation by King Mongkut in 1854 A.D. In 1901 it was badly damaged by fire, so King Chulalongkorn oversaw its repair in 1902 A.D.  In 1928 the face began to break apart, so the Royal Institute organized for the repair.

Opposite outside the temple is a very large Chinese cemetery. Many believe the Buddha image was once repaired by Zheng He the famous Chinese explorer who led hundreds of Ming ships to explore Asia and Africa to establish diplomatic relationships, exercise Chinese influence and develop trade for China.

The small Chinese shrine in the picture below is in the Wat grounds and opposite the river. Here is the image of a Chinese Princess sent to marry a King of Ayutthaya who suffocated herself to death on arrival in Ayutthaya. Legend has it she was petulant and was offended that her husband the King did not come to great her and escort from her ship on arrival.

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Tips for Visiting the Buddhist temple
1. Please wear proper clothing when entering Buddhist temple; shorts, sleeveless, and slippers are unacceotable.
2. Women are not allowed to touch the monk and monk's robes and hand any object directly to the monk.
3. Please remove your shoes and hat (if any) when entering Ubosot or Wihan.
4. For healthy reason, smoking is prohibitedin public places including temple or religious site.

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