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Wat Phra Phai Luang (วัดพระพายหลวง)

Thai. Name of a large and important temple complex in the northern section of Sukhothai Historical Park, near Wat Sri Chum (fig.). It was likely constructed during the reign of the Khmer King Jayavarman VII, who ruled from 1181 AD to circa 1219 AD, and hence predates the Sukhothai Period, that started only in 1238 AD, and during which the –until then– Mahayana Buddhist temple was converted into a temple dedicated to Theravada Buddhism. The temple complex is surrounded by a moat and features three Khmer-style prangs, of which today only one is still mostly intact, while of the other two only the base remains. As the most impressive structure of the temple, the gable on the west face of the prang is portrayed on a Thai postage stamp issued in 2005 (fig.), and depicts the Buddha seated under the bodhi tree in the bhumisparsa posture, with a row of kneeling worshippers below (fig.). Though Wat Phra Phai Luang is a vast and impressive complex, it mostly lies in ruins.