Wat Si Chum known for one of the most stunning temples in Sukhothai with its mandapa-centric arrangement, giant seated Buddha in mandapa and the only extant Sukhothai engravings are in the ceiling of the mandapa stairway.
Wat Si Chum, also known as the “temple of the Bodhi tree”, is a must-visit temple as it is the largest mandapa in Sukhothai. This mandapa houses a colossal well-preserved Sukhothai period statue.
The main monument in this temple is a square structure called a “mondop” which is 32m wide and 15m high. The mandapa’s massive seated Buddha peers out through a narrow entrance way topped by a pointed corbelled arch. The shape of this pointed corbelled arch resembled a stupa’s chattra spire during the Sukhothai period.
The principle Buddha image in the posture of subduing Mara, was presumed to be the Buddha image named “Phra Atchana” referred to the Sukhothai inscription No.1. Phra Achana, which also means “one who is not frightened”, is the largest Buddha image in Sukhothai measuring 15 meters high and 11 meters wide. The most notable feature lies in the shape of the Buddha’s elongated fingers on his right hand that extends downward, almost touching the ground. The right hand of the Buddha is covered with thin gold leaf, placed by devoted Buddhists who came to pay respect. The Buddha is made from stucco-covered brick and conforms to the High Sukhothai style.
On the wall to the left, there is a pathway leading up to the top of the mondop. Along this pathway, there are 50 pieces of slate inscribed with stories from the “Jataka’: were attached to the ceiling. Unfortunately, the entrance to this pathway is locked restricting access to the panels. The slates have been removed for safekeeping and are now at the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum.
On the right of the main mandapa with colossal seated Buddha, sits a smaller-sized vihan-mandapa arrangement with another smaller intact Buddha image.
This temple is definitely one of the famous Wat in Sukhotai Historical Park for photography opportunities.