Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, Si Satchanalai. Assembly Hall (Viharn) in front the Ayutthaya-style prang.
Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat is the main attraction in the eastern section at Si Satchanalai Historical Park, Chaliang.
The temple compound likely was built in the 13th century with later additions during the Ayutthaya period. Khmer features at Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat indicate it was originally a Mahayana Buddhist site, dating to the reign of Jayavarman VII (1181-about 1219).
The main feature at the Wat is the impressive Ayutthaya-style prang, which appears to be a later addition. You will notice that the prang has a smooth contour leading to the top which is typical of Ayutthaya period prangs. Khmer-style prangs on the other hand are characterized by a step-like tapering towards the top. [See examples : The difference between Khmer and Ayutthaya prangs]
While added later, the structure was probably built over an earlier one from the pre-Sukhothai period.
Above eastern gate to Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat. Brahma head on top, niche with figurine, and Khmer-style heavenly female at bottom of decorative pillar.
When entering the temple compound through the eastern gate, do not forget to look above the gate. There is a marvellous decorated pillar on top in good condition, with a Brahma head in four directions, niches with figurines and Khmer-style heavenly females.
There is a small shrine right of the entrance, with a Buddha Image on coils of a serpent whose seven heads cover the Buddha's head.
Left of the main prang is a splendid Walking Buddha Image in front of a brick wall.
Walking Buddha Image at Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, Si Satchanalai.
In front of the prang a Sitting Buddha Image is present, with the posture of Subduing Mara.
Behind the main prang (the walkways are narrow) there are the remains of a stupa (chedi). Archaeologists suggest in is a Mon-style stupa, indicating it is an early structure at the site.
In the more open space behind the prang, there is a Standing Buddha Image, set against a Mandapa (square temple structure), in good condition.
After Wat Chedi Jet Thaew in the Historical Park proper, Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, is in our opinion the most splendid temple compound in Si Satchanalai, and should not be missed. It is at Chaliang, located about 2 to 3 kilometers from the Historical Park center.