|WAT KHIAN 3 (วัดเขียน)
|This temple ruin is located on U-Thong Road, not far from the Hua Ro market and
Wat Khun Saen. Most of this historic site is now found inside of an elementary school. It
is common practice for schools in Ayutthaya to be set up around abandoned
monasteries. This is because many Buddhist temples once served as education centers.
In situ is a single sala-like shrine that faces north. This shrine includes a small altar in
which three, small, meditating Buddha images sit in front of a single larger one. These
have all been painted white, and they are usually well-taken care of. Fresh offering are
almost always placed on a table in front of these images (perhaps by parents or school
children). Two small chedi can also be seen directly on the lip of the busy U-Thong
Road. Both have the stylistic appearance of the late-Ayutthaya period. Motor vehicles
sometimes swerve around the chedi to avoid hitting them. As the city grows, and the
need to expand roads develops, these two chedi may be in danger of future removal.
One theory is that this monastery was the location of a Buddhist library or a place for the
binding of Holy books. However, it is more plausible that this temple was connected to a
Mon leader named Phraya Kiat (or possibly one known as Phraya Kian). There is
evidence that King Maha Thammaracha (r. 1569-1590) persuaded two Mon aristocrats
and their families to settle in this area around 1584. This honor was in reward for their
participation in Prince Naresuan’s declaration of independence from the Burmese. The
two Mon warriors were named Phraya Kiat and Phraya Ram.
Royal Chronicles describe this story in great detail. While still technically allied with the
King Honsawadi of Burma, Prince Naresuan marched his troops to the City of Khraeng,
where they encamped near the monastery of the Great Holy Tera Khan Chong. King
Honsawadi, in the meantime, set up a plan to betray Prince Narasuaen - sending out an
army of 10,000 to ambush and kill him. Phraya Kiat and Phraya Ram were ordered
were to attack Prince Naresuan, seize his troops, and execute him (Cushman 88).
However, the Great Holy Tera Khan Chong was informed of this treachery and took
pity on Prince Naresuan. He arranged a meeting between Phraya Kiat, Phraya Ram, and
Prince Naresuan in which all was revealed. As a result, Prince Naresuan vowed his
revenge and declared independence from Burma (Cushman 89). He promised to escort
the two Mon leaders, the Holy reverent, and their relatives to Ayutthaya for their own
safety. Phraya Kiat and Phraya Phra Ram were given land in the vicinity of the Khamin
Village and Wat Khun Saen. The relatives of Tera Khan Chong were sent to live in a
village behind Wat Nok (Cushman 90). Given its close proximity to the Mon
neighborhood around Wat Khun Saen, it is highly likely that this monastery’s origins are
somehow connected to this Phraya Kiat.
There is a third theory in connection to this monastery. In 1662, on behalf of King Narai,
two military leaders rounded up 10,000 soldiers at municipalities around Tavoy and
Martaban, which joined with Caophraya Kosathibodi to defend Siam from Burmese
invasion. Depending on which version of the Royal Chronicles, these leaders were
named either Phraya Kian (or Phraya Kiat) and Saming Phra Ram (Cushman 278).
These names are strikingly familiar to the ones mentioned in the story above, but the time
difference makes it unlikely to be the same military leaders. More research is needed.
|Text & photographs by Ken May - August 2009
|(Commemoration pavilion of Wat Khian)
|(Remaining chedi of Wat Khian)
|(Detail of a 19th century map - map is orientated S-N)
Wat Khian or the "Monastery of the writing" (1) is indicated on a map drafted in the
mid-19th century and on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map of 1926. The
monastery stood on the south bank of the old Lopburi River, present Khlong Mueang or
City canal. Wat Khun Saen stood on its east, Wat Tha Sai was on its west and Wat
Wihan Thong opposite the river bank.
The mid-19th century map indicates no existence of a chedi nor a prang. The latter map
indicates a second denomination for this temple being Wat Sihra (Siharat) making
reference to a lion or king of lions. As thus this temple could also have been formerly
called the Monastery of the Lion.
The brickwork of Wat Khian is located in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 52.35" N,
100° 34' 12.60" E.
(1) Khian (เขียน), translated meaning "writing", was sometimes given as a nickname to a
person. Monasteries were often named after their establishers or sponsors. The
monastery here could eventually be named after its sponsor.
|Addendum & map by Tricky Vandenberg - January 2011
Updated July 2014
|(Commemoration pavilion of Wat Khian)
|(Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map - Anno
|(Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map -
Courtesy of the Fine Arts Department - 3th Region)