of Wat Mahathat was begun during the reign of King Borommarachathirat 1
in 1374 A.D. but it was completed during the reign of King Ramesuan (1388-1396 A.D.). When
King Songtham (1680-1628 A.D.) was in power the main prang (Khmer-style tower) collapsed.
The restoration work on the prang was probably completed in the reign of King Prasartthong
(1630 - 1655 A.D.). During the restoration the height of the prang was considerably increased.
Wat Mahathat was
restored once again during the reign of King Borommakot (1732-1758 A.D.)
when four porticos of the main prang were added. In 1767 A.D. when Ayutthaya was sacked
the wat was burnt and has since then been in ruins.
Wat Mahathat was a
royal monastery and has been the seat of the Sangaraja, the head of
the Buddhist monks of the Kamavasi sect, since the time of the Mahathera Thammakanlayan,
who was a contemporary of King Borommarachathirat 1, who built the wat.
During the reign of
King Rama VI in the Rattanakosin period, about 1911 A.D., the main prang
of the wat collapsed again and looters seized the opportunity to dig for treasure. Only in 1956
A.D. did the Fine Arts Department undertake excavations around the central area of the prang
where the relics must have been kept. The relics of the Buddha were found in the stupa within
a seven layer reliquary. Other antiquities were recovered as well, including Buddha images,
votive tables, covered boxes shaped like fish and golden plaques in the form of animals. All
these objects are now at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum.
(Information is from the Department of