The Wat Mahathat is a large and busy temple in the old Rattanakosin district of Bangkok, just North of the Grand Palace. Its full name is Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit Rajaworamahavihara. The temple is very highly revered it is one of the six temples of the highest grade of first class Royal temples. The temple enshrines relics of the Buddha.The Wat Mahathat is one of the older temples of Bangkok it was built during the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, before the city of Bangkok was founded in 1782. The temple was then known as the Wat Salak. During the centuries the temple was renovated and raised in class several times. It was later renamed to Wat Mahathat, a name often given to temples containing relics of the Buddha.
The Wat Mahathat is an important temple for Buddhist studies, as it houses a well known meditation center and the first Buddhist University in the country, the Maha Chulalongkorn Raja Vidyalaya University where hundreds of monks study the teachings of the Buddha.The Wat Mahathat is a busy, crowded complex containing a large number of buildings. Surrounding the temple courtyard are the galleries that are lined with a large number of tall Buddha images on very ornately decorated pedestals. The base contains memorials to deceased people whose ashes are interred in niches.