When King Chulalongkorn commissioned Wat Niwet Thammaprawat in Ayutthaya’s Bang Pa-in district in 1876, the monarch wanted his subjects to have a “special” temple to pray in and marvel at.
The fact the King wanted the temple to be designed following Gothic-Revival aesthetics was never seen as an inclination to embrace another faith.
Designed by Italian architect Joachim Grassi, the temple — sitting proud on an island on the Chao Phraya River opposite the Bang Pa-in Royal Palace — stands out with its stained glass windows and spires. The temple, which took two years to complete, can only be accessed through a cable car from the palace.
Though from the outside the temple looks like a church, a Buddha image sits on the Gothic altar.
Wat Niwet Thammaprawat has been bestowed the special status of aram luang or a royal temple where the annual royal kathin (or robe-giving) ceremony is held.