WAT AYODHYA (วัดอโยธยา)
Wat Ayodhya is a temple still in use by the Buddhist clergy. The monastery is located
outside Ayutthaya's city island in
Hantra sub-district. Wat Ayodhya was situated along
the west bank of the today defunct
Khlong Ayodhya, a man-made short-cut canal
running North-South and dug in a loop of the
Pa Sak River, which river bed became
Khlong Hantra.

There is evidence that a community settled in this area much earlier than 1351, date of
establishment of the city of Ayutthaya. The area was seemingly already populated during
the Dvaravati era (6th to the 11th centuries). Sources mention that around 850 AD the
Khmers occupied the area and established a stronghold here, naming it Ayodhya after
the ancient and one of the holiest Hindu cities of India, the old capital of Awadh, in the
Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh. The word "
ayodhya" is Sanskrit for "not to be
warred against
".

The area was later invaded by Anawrahta, the King of Pagan (reigned 1044-1077) and
controlled by the "Burmese" for about a hundred years. After the Burmese influence
waned it was reconquered by the Khmer until in the mid 13th century the Tai seized
political power (growing Lavo and Suphannaphum Kingdoms). When King U-Thong
arrived in the area in 1347, a number of structures already existed. Wat Ayodhya is
understood to be one of those. [1]

Old structures remaining include two redented pillars, about 2.5 m in height at the eastern
entrance and two chedi built in the reign of King Rama V to contain the ashes of the
abbot of that time and his relatives. The new ordination hall was rebuilt upon the ruins of
the old ordination hall during the Ratanakosin era. [2]

Behind the ordination hall are the remains of a chedi, a three meter high base, built in the
Late Ayutthaya style (1629 - 1767 AD).

West of it stands the broken main chedi. The square basis supports the main chedi and
its four smaller inter cardinal satellites. There were no staircases to climb the high basis
platform. The bell-shaped dome rests on an octagonal pedestal. It is estimated that
before the chedi stood to a height of 30 meters. The stucco design of the dome
resembles lotus flowers. The monastic structure is usually overgrown with shrubs, while a
huge crack is starting to split one of its sides. Behind the chedi lies a brick mound, once a
vihara, topped with a small Buddha image.

Many historians believe and publications indicate that this temple was once one of the
principal temples of Ayutthaya, referred to as
Wat Deun or Wat Doem. Jeremias Van
Vliet, a Dutch merchant, wrote in 1638: “
Within the jurisdiction of Judia are the four
principal temples of the whole country; namely the king’s temple,
Wat Syserpudt,
the
Nappetat, Wat Deun (which temple is devoted to the moon and where the
highest school is established), and
Thimphiathey.” There is although at this moment
no valid proof, that Wat Deun mentioned by Van Vliet, was effectively the location of
Wat Ayodhya. Neither is there any indication, that Wat Ayodhya was dedicated to the
moon, nor that there was any ecclesiastic high school situated here before. [3]

It is although clear from the ground plan and the aerial view, that what Ayodhya has been
a large monastery in earlier times. This writer is even convinced that the ruins of the
monastery presently called
Wat Vihan Khao, once were part of this larger monastery,
the vihara clearly being in line with the monastic structures of Wat Ayodhya.

The site is located in Geo Coord: 14° 22' 6.07" N, 100° 35' 21.58" E.

References:
[1] Ancient Cities in Thailand - Abha Bhamorabutr (1981).
[2]  Discovering Ayutthaya - Charnvit Kasetsiri & Michael Wright (2007) - page 112,
113.
[3] Van Vliet's Siam - Chris Baker, Dhiravat Na Pombejra, Alfons Van Der Kraan &
David K. Wyatt (2005) - page 120, 155.
Former location of the ordination hall
Ruined stupa of Wat Ayodhya
Text, photographs & ground plan by Tricky Vandenberg - April 2009
Updated September 2013, March 2014
Wat Ayodhya on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's 1926 map
(Ruined stupa of Wat Ayodhya)
(Former location of the ordination hall)
(Wat Ayodhya on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's 1926
map)
(Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map -
Courtesy of the Fine Arts Department - 3th Region)
Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map