|WAT PHO ARANYIK (วัดโพธิ์อรัญญิก)
|In the "Geographical description of Ayutthaya: Documents from the palace" are eight sacred places mentioned outside the city of Ayutthaya, being the glory
of the capital since olden times.  One of these eight places was Wat Pho Aranyik, which featured a reclining Buddha of 30 meters long. The location of
Wat Pho Aranyik is still unidentified, but one of the possible contenders could be the premises of Wat Phra Non or the "Monastery of the Reclining
The temple must have been sitting on the Chao Phraya River or one of its main tributaries, as water was the most important means of transport in the
Ayutthayan Era. The other reclining Buddhas on the list are all in the vicinity of Ayutthaya, so Wat Pho Aranyik should have been located not that far from
the former capital. The closest area with a reference to "Aranyik" is Nakhon Luang. The district has a sub-district called “Phra Non” in the Aranyik area. The
Pa Sak River is running through this sub-district and there is a monastery called Wat Phra Non or the "Monastery of the Reclining Buddha".
The head monk of the monastery indicated that there was no image of a reclining Buddha on his temple premises, but stated that outside the temple opposite
the road there was a vihara, which once contained a very large image of a reclining Buddha. He added that the site was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767.
The prayer hall was before part of the premises of the temple, but now a road separated it from the present monastery. (1)
On the indicated spot stood a large and wide vihara, about 15 to 17 meters long. All around were scattered bricks and tiles. Remnants of broken Buddha
images were gathered in one place. The vihara was restored in the first half of 2013 by the Fine Arts Department.
Considering an old ordination hall and a chedi in Lao style on the left bank of the Pa Sak River and the location of the prayer hall inland, there must have
been a large monastery in this location. This site could have been once the famous Wat Pho Aranyik.
The area was before mainly populated by Lao people and some Mon.
The vihara is located is in Geo Coord: 14° 29' 49.62" N, 100° 38' 15.04" E.
(1) Visit to the area on 3 August 2013.
 พรรณนาภูมิสถาน พระนครศรีอยุธยา เอกสารจากหอหลวง (ฉบับความสมบูรณ์) - Geographical description of Ayutthaya: Documents from the
palace - Dr Winai Pongsripian - Bangkok (2007) - page 107.
|Text & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg