Wat Lokaya Sutha, “the temple of the Earth” is located near the North West tip of the historical island near the old Royal Palace and Wat Phra Si Sanphet.
Highlight of the monastery is its 42 meter long Reclining Buddha image, usually draped in orange cloth. Apart from the central prang which is in fairly good condition, little more than the base of the main buildings remains today.
History of the Wat Lokaya Sutha
Little is known about the monastery’s history. Since it is located close to the Royal palace it was probably an important temple.
Its founding date is unknown; judging from the style of the main prang which is constructed in the same style as nearby Wat Ratchaburana and Wat Mahathat, it is believed that the temple dates from the early Ayutthaya period.
As many other monasteries in Ayutthaya, Wat Lokaya Sutha was destroyed by the Burmese armies during the invasion of 1767.
Architecture of the Wat Lokaya Sutha
The temple’s main structures are aligned on an East West axis. At the center of the monastery are the central chedi and the ubosot standing on a courtyard surrounded by a gallery. At each of the courtyard’s four corners is a chedi, of which today only the base remains. To the West of the courtyard are the remains of the Reclining Buddha viharn, to the East three assembly halls.
Main prang at the center of the monastery
The main prang stands at the center of the temple. Usually it was the first structure to be build. Standing on an elevated base the corncob shaped prang rises to a height of 30 meters. Its entrance faces East towards the rising sun. Some of the stucco ornamentation on the upper part is still visible.
East of the courtyard at the center of the monastery are three brick viharns (assembly halls) standing next to each other. The principal viharn standing at the center is connected in the West to the gallery that surrounds the courtyard. Only their foundations remain today.
Ubosot, the ordination hall
On the courtyard directly West of the central prang stands the ubosot, the hall where novices were ordained into monkhood. The brick structure is 33 meters long and 14 meters wide. Six sema boundary stones around the ubosot mark the hall’s sacred area.
42 Meter long Reclining Buddha
West of the courtyard at the center of the monastery stands a viharn housing an enormous Reclining Buddha image. Today little more than the hall’s foundation and the remains of the octagonal pillars that supported the roof remain.
Named Phra Buddha Sai Yat, the brick and mortar image measuring 42 meters long and 8 meters high faces West, the direction of the falling sun. Draped around the image is an orange cloth. The Buddha’s head supported by the right hand rests on lotus buds. The image has been restored by the Thai Fine Arts Department in 1956.
In front of the image is a small alter with a miniature version of the large Buddha where devotees bring offerings.
Standing away from the temple are several brick chedis in various styles that were constructed at a later date. One of them stands near the Reclining Buddha image. Above its base are niches containing stuccoed standing images of the Buddha, higher up the niches contain smaller stuccoed images of the Buddha subduing Mara.
Entrance is free.