|WAT KRACHAI (วัดกระช้าย)
|Wat Krachai is located off the main island, on the western side of the city - in the Pak
Kran Sub-district. It can easily be seen at a distance from two city roads (including
Highway 347), even though it can be difficult to actually visit. Perched in the middle of
several rice fields, where seasonal flooding is commonplace, Wat Krachai has remained
highly isolated until recently. A new road is presently being constructed that will allow
visitors to finally reach it. The Fine Arts Department is also renovating this monastery to
help with its preservation.
Wat Krachai is a considerably large ruin with a number of structures in situ. Its most
outstanding feature is a large bell-shaped chedi in the Middle Ayutthaya period style.
This chedi has been heavily looted over the years, and many large holes have been
unfortunately burrowed deep into the chedi’s surface - thus, weakening the structure.
There is a large hollow chamber inside the chedi that can be entered from a human-dug
hole in one side. A small alter rests at the entrance of this hole, where offerings have
In addition, there are partially excavated remains of a large ubosot on site. The debris of
several Buddha images and sema stones have been stacked on top off the ubosot. Wat
Krachai is also surrounded by a number of walls that are clearly visible. These walls
provide a good idea on how the monastery had once been designed. Finally, recent
excavations at Wat Krachai suggest that even more structures once stood at this
Wat Krachai was used by the Burmese army as a stockade during the fall of Ayutthaya
in 1767. Royal Chronicles state that Burmese troops advanced forward and established
stockades at the Monastery of the Krachai plant, the Monastery of the Victory
Pavilion, the Monastery of the Tortoise (Stove), the Monastery of God Indra, and the
Monastery of Red (Cushman 512). The Burmese build bastions in each of these
stockades and used them to fire on the capital with large and small guns. Wat Krachai
was greatly damaged during the final Burmese invasion. Excavations around the site have
yielded weapons such as swords, spears, lances, and bullets.
A number of Ayutthaya residents claim that this temple is haunted by many ghosts, so
they warn against making visits. It is believed that some horrible unknown event took
place near this site, such as the mass cremation of the war dead. Other Thais say that
local citizens were brought to this site by Burmese soldiers for execution. According to
local folklore, real estate development is not allowed anywhere near the monastery in
order to prevent the ghosts from waking. There are no historical documents to back up
any of these beliefs, but such viewpoints add to the mystique of Wat Krachai.
|Text & photographs by Ken May - 2009
Maps by Tricky Vandenberg - February 2014
|(Wat Krachai at dusk)
|(View inside the chedi)
|(Holes dug by looters)