Posted on: 22nd February 2016
An Insight into the Sukhothai-Era Temple
Wat Aranyik is a historic temple in Phitsanulok which dates back to the Sukhothai period. It is located on the east bank of river Nan, about 1 km from the city fort on Phya Sua Road. The temple grounds have a few modern temple buildings, one of which houses a monastery. There is also a vast area of the ruins where an ancient temple of the Sukhothai era once used to stand. Among the popular attractions within Wat Aranyik are the remains of a historic chedi (pagoda) along with the many images of Buddha. The chedi was influenced by the Lankan-style pagodas while the Buddhist images were designed incorporating the styles of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. Other important historical monuments at Wat Aranyik include the vihara, the ordination hall, a rectangular well containing water and some small buildings. A distinctive feature of the temple is that it is enclosed by ditches or moats.
The Ordination Hall at Wat Aranyik
The original ordination hall at Wat Aranyik is surrounded by bai sema – traditional stone slabs set upright and used as boundary-markers. These stones separate the sacred area of the temple from the common ground. Now, all that remains of this ordination hall are its foundations along with several Buddha images from various eras, crafted in various styles. While the walls no longer stand, certain religious ceremonies continue to be held by the monks on the site. Immediately behind the ordination hall, there is a site containing the remains of an ancient bell-shaped pagoda. It is believed that during the pagoda’s heyday, it used to be surrounded by 68 statues of elephants, as well as 8 small pavilions, all housing a standing image of the Buddha. At present, only a handful of reproductions of the elephant statues exist at Wat Aranyik.
A recently developed ordination hall is located at the temple’s far corner where artists produce traditional and religious mural paintings. This elegant building is all set to become the new home of another Buddha image. A car rental in Phitsanulok is the best option when it comes to travelling the region; moreover, it also proves convenient as it allows easy access to numerous destinations like Wat Aranyik, which are scattered in and around the city.