|WAT LANGKA (วัดลังกา)
|Wat Langka is located along the eastern side of Khlong Makham Riang, which was
known as Khlong Nai Kai during the Ayutthaya period. Naresuan Road is situated just
north of this deserted monastery. Public streets make this ruin easy to access.
In situ is a single prang-shaped stupa in the Khmer style. The stucco designs on this
prang are still visible in some sections, and a headless figure wielding a sword is perched
high above on the southwestern side. There is a hole on the eastern side that can be
entered. The prang’s interior is hollow and full of bats.
There is no record of when this temple was build. However, the Khmer-influenced prang
and geographic location suggests that it was constructed in the early Ayutthaya period.
Royal Chronicles refer to a monastery that might have actually been Wat Langka. After
King Intharacha died in 1424, two of his sons fought on elephant back to win the crown.
Prince Ai Phraya set himself up at the Municipality of Maphrao (coconut) Forest at the
Chai Pavilion, while his brother "Prince Yi Phraya came and set himself up at the
Chaiyaphum Monastery so as to enter the city by way of Cao Phrom Market"
(Cushman 15). Both brothers were killed in the duel at the Than Forest Bridge, so a
third brother inherited the throne instead.
The Khmer-influenced prang was the architectural style used for building stupa in the
Early Ayutthaya period, and Wat Langka is the only monastery in the Chao Phrom area
that has a Khmer prang. There was also coconut grove in the vicinity of Wat Langka,
which a canal was named after (Khlong Maphrao). It is plausible that Wat Langka is one
of those monasteries mentioned in the Royal Chronicles. More research is needed on this
Wat Langka is situated in Ho Ratana Chai sub-district. Its name refers probably to Sri
Lanka.The large prang is constructed on a redented low base with projecting porches in
the cardinal directions. The entrance to the central prang is on the east, while the other
porches are built as false entrances. The prang is built in the Early Ayutthaya period as
derived from the shape and the stucco pattern. The temple is indicated on a map drafted
in the mid-19th century and on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map of 1926.
In my opinion there is no reference to this temple in the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya.
The Fine Arts Department restored Wat Langka in 2012 after the massive flooding the
year prior. The approximate sum of 38,500 USD was allocated for the purpose.
The site is located in Geo Coord: 14° 21' 29.46" N, 100° 34' 30.32" E.
|Addendum & maps by Tricky Vandenberg
Updated December 2014
|Visit of Wat Langka on 20 August 2012. Fine Arts Department scheduled a restoration of Wat
Langka for this year after the flooding of 2011. The approximate sum of 38,500 USD has been
allocated for this purpose. Restoration work is ongoing. The extensive cable wiring in front of the
temple, disrupting its spectacular view, still remains a problem to tackle in the near future.
(Pictures by Tricky Vandenberg)
|(View of Wat Langka from the Makham Riang Canal)
|(The prang of Wat Langka)
|(Remaining stucco at Wat Langka)
|(Detail of a 19th century map - map is orientated S-N)
|(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)
|Text and photographs by Ken May