Dating back to 1630, the captivating temple straddles the west bank of the mesmerizing Chao Phraya River, a central water artery coursing through the heart of the Thai capital. The temple has now been integrated into a campaign where it will be enlightened every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and on public holidays. The purposeful illumination runs from 6.30pm all through to 10pm every day throughout the remaining duration of the year, designed to draw tourists from both near and far.
What’s more fascinating is that the department overseeing the campaign has extended an exciting invitation to all comers. Visitors can take a step back in time, donning traditional Thai attire and taking photographs against the backdrop of this ancient temple. This nostalgic exercise echoes the years 1351 through to 1767, an era when the Ayutthaya Kingdom wielded significant influence over the territories that make up present-day Thailand.
Built during the reign of King Prasat Thong, this temple was the first of his reign. It holds an influential place in Thai history and culture, a fact mirrored in its name, which translates as “the temple of the long reign and glorious era”. Its design was deeply influenced by the Khmer architectural style, engineered as a Buddhist merit-making exercise.
The temple features a central Prang or pagoda reaching 35-metre high, flanked on four sides by four smaller prangs, all of them erected on a rectangular platform. This central platform is encircled by eight uniquely chedi-shaped chapels. In a stunning display of symmetry and balance, the chapels are linked by Phra Rabieng, a cross-shaped passage with a rectangular cruciform design.
A scenic walk along the temple walls presents 120 sitting Buddha statues. Likely originally painted in a striking palette of black and gold, these statues enhance the tranquil and spiritual atmosphere of this monumental site. Though centuries have passed since its inception, the temple’s grandeur and spiritual significance continue to inspire awe among visitors and locals alike.