Wat Yai Chai Mongkol can be also written as Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, which means the Great Temple of the Auspicious Victory. The temple is located outside of the island created by the 3 rivers, on the southeast side of Ayutthaya, not far from Wat Phanan Choeng. It’s a very active, beautiful temple.
In 1357, the two sons of King U-Thong (Ramathibodi I) passed away from cholera, and on the site in which their bodies were cremated, the king ordered to rebuild a temple with a Stupa (a round dome-shaped structure) and a chapel (Vihan). Then, the temple was named Wat Pa Kaeo (Temple of the Crystal Forest).
Over the years, the temple turned into the residence place of monks who returned from their studies in Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka) where they learned from their leader Phra Vanarat Maha Thera and mostly practiced meditation.
In 1592, king Naresuan fought against the Burmese and managed to defeat them by killing their prince, in a one-on-one battle carried as they were seated on the backs of elephants. During the battle, the king and his brothers were disconnected from the Thai military officers, which severely aggravated him.
Once he came back from the battle, the king decided to punish these officers, but the head of the monks persuaded him to pardon them and instead, expand the temple and build Chedi to celebrate the victory. The Chedi was named Chedi Chaiya Mongkhon, and the temple name was changed to Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon – Great Temple of Auspicious Victory.
King Naresuan has also built a giant reclining Buddha statue, but it was ruined over the years. In 1965, the statue was rebuilt and is one of the largest Buddha statues (some 30 meters long), which you can see during the visit to the temple.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol’s Chedi is one of the most prominent spots of Ayutthaya, and due to its height, can be seen from afar, when arriving in the city from the east. Apart from the tall, beautiful Chedi, the temple also features a long line of Buddha statues which grant the place its unique, beautiful appearance, so you can take great pictures there.
No wonder this historic yet active temple – one of the most active in Ayutthaya – is very popular among Thai visitors and tourists alike, who come to visit here every day.
My Opinion: Among the historical yet active temples in Ayutthaya, Wat Yai Chai Mongkol impressed me the most, and I think that visiting it is a must, for those who arrive at Ayutthaya.