Wat Mahathat is the old temple from the Ayutthaya period. It is located in parallel with the Grand Palace and the old Front Palace (nowsaday is the National Museum). In the old day, the temple was the residence of the Supreme Patriarch, the temple where the Buddhist Council took place and, the place for royal ritual cremation. It was also the location of the institution of Pali study which currently is Maha Chulalongkorn Ratcha Vidyalaya University. The temple is also a center for meditation where everyone can participate
There is much artistic and cultural heritage from early Rattanakosin in Wat Mahathat. For instance, Phra Mondob which collected the royal ashes from King Rama I’s period in the most complete form, the tympanum and the main Buddha image in the ubosot by the old master craftsmen, and other archaic Buddha images from the Ayutthaya period which were carefully selected and placed.
King Rama I when restoring this temple, he intended to make this temple to be the same as Wat Mahathat, a main royal temple, in Ayutthaya Kingdom. The king basically desired to construct Rattanakosin Kingdom or Bangkok based on the city structure of Ayutthaya. Wat Mahathat, which located close to the Grand Palace, is therefore suited the king’s desire.