THA WASUKRI (ท่าวาสุกรี)
Text & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - September 2010
Reviewed May 2011
Tha Wasukri is located on the city island in the Historical Park in a sub-district which
bear the same name. The boat landing is situated just north of the
Grand Palace and in
the vicinity of
Wat Mai Chai Wichit, a monastery dating from the 19th century.

The boat landing was in fact the royal jetty on the old Lopburi River, the present Khlong
Mueang. The landing was situated central along the northern palace wall in between the
Horse Bathing Landing on the northwestern corner of the palace and the Khan
Landing at the northeastern corner. [1]

Barges left the
royal dockyard between Wat Choeng Tha and Wat Phanom Yong, to halt
at this jetty in order to embark or disembark royalty. From Tha Wasukri started a
covered walkway or corridor (Th: chanuan - ฉนวน) all through the palace grounds until
Wat Sri Sanphet in order to screen the palace inhabitants from sun or rain and
from public view. The gate leading from the Wasukri landing into the Grand Palace was
called the Maha Traiphopchon Thawara Uthok Gate and was commonly known as the
Water Cloister Gate. Phraya Boran Rachathanin mentions here simply Pratu Chanuan on
his map.

No boat traffic was allowed in front of the Grand Palace between the
Horse Bathing
Landing and the Khan landing. In fact the whole stretch of water from Wat Sala Pun, east
of the boathouse of the royal barges, until the Kalahom Landing was under
strict vigilance. Three guard pavilions controlled the traffic on the old Lopburi River in
front of the palace and took care of all events and incidents in that area. All boat traffic
not related to the palace, was blocked  between the guard pavilion in the west near Wat
Salapun and the guard pavilion in the east, probably located opposite the mouth of Lam
Khu Pak Sra in the vicinity of the Kalahom Landing (Palace Law). One of these guard
pavilions features on the mid-19th century map in front of the landing called Tha
Sala Wen (ท่าศาลาเวร) - in the old texts called Sala Trawen. [1]

The landing is mentioned in the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya:
"When it was
two nalika and five hat in the afternoon, the Supreme-Holy- Buddhist-Lord-
Omnipotent, having finished donning all His gold ornaments and  magnificent
excellent gold adornments, mounted the Butsabok Rattana Maha Phiman Holy
Throne which adorned the center of the Victorious Gold Swan  Proceeding in
Military Procession Boat, moving in procession made His entrance into the
Metropolis and came alongside the Great Wasukri Landing, and paused to
cast His holy eyes on the procession  accompanying the Holy Buddha figures
which was supremely magnificent with all of those premier boats.
" [2]

The Wasukri landing is called after Vasuki (sanskrit), a mythical snake used as a rope by
the devas (gods) and the asuras (demons) for churning the ocean of milk to extract the
Nectar of Immortality. The Ocean was churned by using the mountain Mandara and the
snake Vasuki wrapped around it. Vasuki is the lord of the naga snakes in Hindu
mythology and opposed to Garuda, the mount of Vishnu, as they stand respectively for
death and rebirth. He has a Nagamani-gem on his head. According to the Hindu
mythology Vasuki encircles the world and his movements may produce earthquakes.

The Wasukri landing is not indicated on the
mid-19th century map neither on Phraya
Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926.

References:

[1] อธิบายแผนที่พระนครศรีอยุธยากับคำวินิจฉัยของพระยาโบราฌราชาธานินท์ ฉบับชำระครั้งที่๒
และ ภูมิสถนกรุงศรีอยุธยา  (2007) - Explanation of the map of the Capital of Ayutthaya with a ruling of
Phraya Boran Rachathanin - Revised 2nd edition and Geography of the Ayutthaya Kingdom - Ton Chabab
print office - Nonthaburi (2007) - page 93.
[2] The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 206 /
Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat, Phra
Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph.
(Tha Wasukri)
(View of the Wasukri landing from the city canal)