WAT MAHA SAMAN (วัดมหาสมัน)
Wat Maha Saman or the Monastery of the Great Deer is located on the city island in
the southwestern area of Ayutthaya in Pratu Chai Sub-district, west of the
Somdet Phra
Sri Nakharin Park. It is situated opposite the Siriyalai Palace.

In situ is a restored ruin of an ubosot or ordination hall with its entrance to the east. The
locations of the sema stones are visible. At its West side stands a bell-shaped Thai style
chedi. The ubosot was surrounded with an inner wall. Some parts of the outer wall still
can be seen. The whole monastery was surrounded with a moat. The area can be
accessed via U-Thong Rd.

The temple could be called after the Schomburgks’ Deer (1), a deer endemic to
Thailand and making reference to the Jataka of the "
Deer King",  where Buddha in a
previous life takes the form of a deer being leader of a herd of deer in the
Isipatanamarukatiyawan Forest. This forest is the actual Deer Park in Sarnath (close to
Varanasi/Benares - North India) where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma to the
group of five companions with whom he had previously sought enlightenment and where
the Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of Kaundinya.

The temple bearing the name "Maha Saman", could also be translated "the rising
morning", referring at the guardian deity of the Theravada Buddhist religion and Sri
Lanka. Sumana Saman invited Lord Buddha to the Samanalakanda and on request
Gautama Buddha left his foot print on the rock at top of the Sri Pada mountain (Adam's
Peak) as a token of symbolic worship 2,580 year ago. Following his death, Prince
Sumana Saman became a god by the name God Maha Sumana Saman. The God Maha
Sumana Saman is depicted crowned and bejeweled, holding a lotus flower in his right
hand while accompanied by a white elephant.

Its historical background and period of construction are unknown.

The monastery is indicated on a
mid-19th century map in the same position as on Phraya
Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926.

The restored ruin of Wat Maha Saman is located in Geo Coord: 14° 20' 40.02" N, 100°
32' 44.79" E.

Footnotes:

(1) The Schomburgk's deer was named after Sir Robert H. Schomburgk, who was the
British consul in Bangkok from 1857-1864.
Text, maps & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - July 2009.
Updated April 2011, December 2014
View from the west
The restored chedi
View from the east
(View from the west)
(The restored chedi)
(View from the east)
Detail of a 19th century map
Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map - Anno 1926
Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map
(Detail of a 19th century map - Courtesy of the Sam
Chao Phraya Museum)
(Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map - Anno
1926)
(Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map -
Courtesy of the Fine Arts Department - 3th Region)