Wat Maharat means Temple of the Holy Relic in the Thai language. Every city in Thailand has a Wat Maharat, however, the Wat Maharat in Bangkok is the most important of these in Thailand.
Wat Maharat Yowarajarangsarit Rajaworamahavihara, to give the temple its full name, is one of ten Royal palaces of the highest class. It is very much a working temple, at the head of Thailand’s largest monastic order – The Mahanikai School. The head of the order (‘The Supreme Patriarch’) resides at the temple.
Built during the Ayutthaya Period (1350 – 1767), Wat Maharat came to prominence in 1788 under the patronage of the first king of Siam, Rama 1. The temple buildings were then expanded by Rama IV, who had studied here as a young monk before ascending to the throne. The growth of the temple carried on with the establishment in 1889 of the first institute of higher education for the monkhood in Thailand. In 1997 this institute became a public university.
Foreign visitors are welcome to come and share this learning with Vipassana meditation classes held daily at 7am to 10am, 1pm to 4pm, and 6pm to 8pm. Classes are free, and it is possible to stay in temple while studying also for free, although a donation to the upkeep of the temple is normally required. If you would like to attend telephone +66 (0)2 222 6011. Please note that students are expected to dress in white clothes, and observe the eight precepts of Buddhism, during their period of study.
As a tourist you are welcome to visit the temple. Visitors will appreciate the opportunity to visit a functioning temple. The temple is open from 7am to 6pm every day. Admission is free. The temple is not close to either Skytrain or Metro stations. You can however reach the temple by catching a Chao Phraya Express Boat. The closest pier is Tha Chang Pier. If you are coming by boat, the entrance to the temple (on the Maharat Road) is a 10 minute walk from Tha Chang Pier. If you are coming from Sukhumvit, Silom or Siam Square you can connect with the Chao Phraya Express Boat by taking the BTS (skytrain) to Saphan Taksin station, which is adjacent to Sathorn Pier.