Located close to the northern gate and outer rampart of Sukhothai, Wat Phra Phai Luang is a group of ancient
monuments of great significance. The buildings, constructed in different phases, are impressive evidence of the evolution of Sukhothai art and architecture.
This group of ancient monuments was built in the middle of an area
enclosed within a moat 600 metres long on each side. The oldest ancient monuments
in this temple are 3 buildings constructed in prasat style (imitating Hindu
Shikhara Vima~nas). Two monument are still in existence, with only the bases
remaining. The remaining in the north is adorned with stuccoed reliefs depicting
the story of Buddha, like those an the prasat of Wat Mahathat in Lop Buri Province
and at Palilai Prasat in Angkor, the capital of the ancient Khmer Kingdom. These
stuccoed reliefs help confirm the supposition that around the 13th century,
communities in Sukhothai had cultural contact with the Khmers in the reign of
Jayavarman VII and were also associated with Lavo (Lop Buri), a Khmer town of
considerable importance in the central plain.
To the east of the prasats are a viha~ra and a pyramidal chedi, its sloping
sides decorated with superimposed receding porches, similar to those of Ku Kut
chedi in Lamphun, for enshrining Buddha images. Buddha images in the Wat Tra Kuan
style enshrined in closed porches were found underneath those of the Sukhothai
style. Such a discovery indicates that new chedis were rebuilt in different periods to replace the old ones.
At the eastern extremity of this temple, a mandapa was built to enshrine
Buddha images in four postures:, sitting, reclining, standing and walking. This mandapa probably belongs to the late Sukhothai period.
This temple lies about 500 meters north of San Luang Gate. This sanctuary, formerly a Khmer-Hindu shrine, but later coverted into the Buddhist monastery, is surrounded by a moat. It is second in importance to Wat Mahathat. Inside there are three prangs like Wat Si Sawai, but the southern and the central ones, have crumbled, leaving only the northern one decorated with stucco figures. In front of these prangs are a viharn and a crumbled chedi; the later has a pedestal decorated with stucco seated Buddha images. A mondop contains Buddha images in four postures; sitting, reclining, standing and walking. They are now all in ruins. A Sivalinga (Phallic emblem of Siva) was unearthed in the compound of this sanctuary.