THE LANKA EMBASSY
On the twenty-first day of the solar month Kanya, being Sunday, three officers came in the morning and
accompanied us in boats to the vihare called Maha Dhanvarama, in the district named Na pu than, that
we might make offerings there to the Buddha and acquire merit, and also see the beauties of the place;
and this is what we saw there. The place was a fertile stretch of level land enclosed by four walls,
outside which ran four canals.

From the water-course to the east up to the gate there was a long covered passage of two stages. On
entering at the gateway we saw on the four sides eight holy dagabas, so covered with gilding that they
resembled masses of kinihiriya flowers. In the intervals were various images. Among them at the four
sides were four buildings of two stages against the inner walls of which, and rising to the roof were
large gilt images of the Buddha. Within the space enclosed by these were four handsome gilt dagabas
with images interspersed. In the very centre of all was a dagaba richly adorned, with doors on the four
sides fitted with stairs, up and down which we could ascend and descend. At the four, corners of the
square base of the spire were four dragons with wings outstretched and meeting above; in the four
panels were four images of gods adorned with all the divine ornaments, as well as images of the gods
who preside at the four points of the compass, with their bands clasped overhead. In the intervals were
images of door-guardians armed with swords, of rakshas with clubs and of bairayas with staves, while
above the circular base of the spire were depicted in solid gold the sacred halo. On either side of the
stair leading from the eastern gate ran two snakes, their bodies the size of palmirah palms; where they
reached the ground their hoods were raised and renting on slabs of crystal; their open jaws and
projecting fangs filled the hearts of those who saw them with terror.

Starting from here there were ranged round the dagaba images of lions, bears, swans, peacocks,
kinduras, deer, oxen, wolves, buffaloes, makaras, and door guardians armed with swords. Also,
carrying palm fans, chamaras, sesat, triumphal chanks, and various offerings, with their hands clasped
above their heads, were numerous images of Brahmas, Sakras, and the Sujama gods, all adorned with
gold. In the hall to the east, with its eye: fixed on the dagaba, was an image of the Buddha supported
on either side by images of the two great disciples with their hands clasped above their heads. Also
there was another image of the lord as he was in life, begging for food with his bowl in his sacred hand.
In another building, which was reached by a flight of steps, were various images of the Buddha and two
figures of the Sacred Footprint with the auspicious symbols in gold. In a similar hall to the west were
three images. Here was depicted in gold our lord reposing in lion fashion in his scented room, whilst
Ananda Mahasami is approaching holding in his right hand a golden candlestick.

On the four walls was depicted the Vessantara birth-story, and next his birth in Thusita heaven, whence
again he was begotten of King Suddhodana in the womb of Queen Mahamaya and was brought forth
into the arms of gods, after which he made his Great Renunciation, and on his gleaming throne under
the sacred Bo attained Buddha hood; and, seated on the White Throne of Sakraya, he preached his
Abhidharma to the gods, and after receiving the offerings of the gods and Brahmas he descended by
the divine stair to the Sakya city; - all this was pictured in gilt. Outside the great wall of the vihare were
several preaching-halls: to the west of this was the residence of the Sanga Raja ; the dining and
preaching-halls were adorned in diverse fashions with gilding. One room was hung with awnings and
curtains embroidered with gold whilst the floor was covered with various precious carpets. There were
vases arranged in rows filled with flowers, whilst above were hung circular lamps. On two thrones on
either side were placed two priestly fans; the handles of these were made of elephants' tusks, the ivory
of which was sawn very fine like the leaves of the kus-kus, and woven with red velvet and thin strips of
gold and silver like rushes to form the leaf of the fan. Two holy priests stood on either side making
obeisance to where the Sanga Raja was. Behind a curtain curiously embroidered with gold was a
throne on which the Sanga Raja himself was seated. His face was screened by a fan of golden-hued
bird's plumes which he held in his right hand. ... Surrounding this spot were several houses occupied
by a vast number of priests and Samaneras, devotees of either sex who observe Dasasil, as well as a
crowd of pious and courtly folk who provided daily offerings.
[1]

References:

[1] Religious Intercourse Between Ceylon and Siam in the Eighteenth Century - P.E. Pieris (1908) - Bangkok Siam Observer Office -
pages 20-2.
Description of Wat Maha That by one of the Lankan Ambassadors to Ayutthaya in 1751 AD