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The first-class royal monastery, the temple houses Phra Pathom Chedi, the largest pagoda in Thailand and the official provincial symbol of Nakhon Pathom.
The present Phra Pathom Chedi was built during the reign of King Rama IV in 1853, under his royal command, the new Chedi was constructed to cover the former Chedi of which the shape was of an upside down bell with a Prang top. It is assumed that the former Chedi was dated back to 539 AD as the upside-down-bell-shaped Chedi has a similar style to the Sanchi Chedi in India, built in the reign of King Asoka. The construction of the new huge Chedi was completed in the reign of King Rama V in 1870 AD. In total, it took 17 years to build.
The completed Chedi became a circular one that covers an upside-down, Lankan style, bell-shaped Chedi. The height from bottom to a top crown is about 120.45 metres, and 233.50 metres diameter at the base.
During the reign of King Rama VI, Wat Phra Pathom Chedi was renovated and later became the royal temple of the King. Within the monastery compound, the sacred Chedi houses Lord Buddha’s relics. There are various interesting historical items, including the Phra Ruang Rodjanarit (พระร่วงโรจนฤทธ์), an image of Buddha bestowing pardon, is enshrined in a vihara located in the North and in front of Phra Pathom Chedi
The casting of this Buddha image was done during the reign of King Rama VI at Wat Phra Chettuphon in 1913: the image’s head, hand, and feet were brought from Mueang Si Satchanalai, Sukhothai. Under royal command, a wax sculpture of the Buddha image was moulded. Later, the Buddha image was enshrined in the vihara, located on the north at the top of a huge staircase. The King granted this Buddha image the name “Phra Rung Rodjanarit Sri-Intharathit Thammamopas Mahavachiravuth Rachpuchaniyabopitr”. The relics of King Rama VI are housed at its base.
Wat Phra Pathom Chedi Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์วัดพระปฐมเจดีย์) is located in the East of the church, housing artefacts and historical remains which were discovered during the excavations in Nakhon Pathom including the coffin and funeral ritual set that were used in Ya-Lei’s cremation ceremony. Ya-Lei is a dog very dear to King Rama VI but was shot and died. The King was much saddened and commanded to building of a monument for Ya-Lei as a token of his grief.
Another visit-worthy is the National Museum of Phra Pathom Chedi (พิพิธภัณฑ์สถานแห่งชาติพระปฐมเจดีย์) which located in the South of Pathom Chedi compound. A two-storey modern Thai building houses artefacts and historical remains, most of which dates back to Dvaravati period and were found during excavations in Nakhon Pathom.
Opening hours: Daily 9am-5pm, Wednesday-Sunday (except national holiday) 9am-4:30pm for Wat Phra Pathom Chedi Museum
Contact: Phra Pathom Chedi, Amphoe Mueang, Nakhon Pathom Tel. 0 3424 2143