Wat Chaiyo or Wat Ket Chaiyo was built during the Ayutthaya Period. It became significant during the reign of King Rama IV the Great. The venerable Somdet Phra Phutthachan (To Phromrangsi) of Wat Rakhang Khositaram built the large Buddha image in a subduing Mara gesture and placed it outdoor. However, the image collapsed soon after construction. He re-built it in the same pose but smaller, covered it in plaster and without gold leaf. As the image could be seen from far, the villagers called it Luangpho To (meaning huge image). Further temple restoration during the reign of King Rama V the Great caused the collapse of the Buddha image again. The King then ordered the renovation of the image with steel bars inside. The new image was covered in gold leaf and monks’ robes and was given the new name by King Rama V the Great “Phra Maha Phutthaphim”. A new main chapel was constructed to house the new image. Upon the completion, King Rama V the Great established the temple to be one of the royal temples.
To pay respect to Luangpho To, you need a bunch of flowers, incense and a candle. People living in Ang Thong believe that a sinful person will never have the chance to pay respect to the sacred Luangpho To as he/she will feel that the image will collapse on him/her. The holy water from the temple is also believed to be able to cure any sickness. A story spread among the villagers said that people saw Luangpho To in their dreams making them become faithful to him. This story aligned with the belief of Buddhists that the Buddha image represents the Lord Buddha. A worship of it will make people want to do good deeds. The practice of the basic Buddhist principles along with the worship of the Buddha image will make one’s life happy forever.
When visiting Wat Chaiyo, there are three must-see sites. The first is Phra Ubosot, which extends from the front part of the chapel and is constructed in the beautiful traditional period Thai style of King Rama V the Great. Inside is a beautiful mural painting depicting the life of the Lord Buddha and painted by craftsmen living in the same period. Another is the main chapel constructed to keep Phra Maha Phutthaphim, which is located by the Chao Phraya River, and where you can also visit a life-size statue of Somdet Phra Phutthachan built during the same period.
How to Get There
Wat Chaiyo is located in Mu 3, Chaiyo Sub-district, Chaiyo District. Ang Thong Province. Take Highway 309 (Ang Thong—Sing Buri route). Turn right at Chaiyo Sub-district Police Station. Continue for around 300 meters and you will see the temple.