Wat Mongkhon Bophit, Ayuthaya, Thailand
To the south of Wat Phra Si Sanphet within a walkable distance is this beautiful Wat, Wat Mongkhon Bophit; a mix of old and new temple architecture of Thailand. Initially it was just a Mondop built to protect the huge bronze Buddha image, but in 1706 A.D. the top part of the Mondop and the head of the image was damaged by a thunderbolt. The Mondop was then converted in to a Vihara by the then King.
Unfortunately in 1767 the Vihara was again damaged, this time in a fire and the head and right arm of the image was completely broken. The image was again repaired and the Maha Wihaan (the big sanctuary) was built. It got a face lift again in 1956 and that explains the beautiful condition of the Wat.
All these stories of the huge Buddha image I heard and read before I entered the Wat. On entering the Wat I was left speechless seeing the actual hugeness of the image, it was shining so brightly that it seemed to be made of gold to me. Definitely an image worth protecting and preserving for the future generations.
Another interesting bit is that in 1955, the Burmese Prime Minister visted and donated 2,000,000 Bahts to help restore this Wihaan and the image. An act of belated atonement for his country’s sacking of the city 200 years back.