WAT MAI CHAI WICHIT (วัดใหม่ไชยวิชิต)
Wat Mai Chai Wichit or the New Monastery of Chai Wichit is situated on the city
island in the northern area in Tha Wasukri Sub-district. It is located south of
Khlong
Mueang or city canal, the old Lopburi River and was constructed just outside the old
Grand Palace area.

The temple has been built during the reign of King Rama III (Phra Nangklao r. 1824 -
1851), but there is no record of its construction. The monastery is somehow related to
the Governor General of Monthon
Krung Kao (as was Ayutthaya area called before)
with the title Phraya Chai Wichit (1). The exact history is not known. Some sources state
it was built by the Governor on his property, after he moved out to another location in
the vicinity
Wat Suwan Dararam; Adjacent to the temple there is indeed some strange
indefinite brick construction. Other sources say that the temple was built by relatives of
Phraya Chai Wichit after his death and had the function of a commemoration monument,
hence its name.

The temple is built on an ancient road running parallel with the old palace wall, called
"Thanon Pratu Din" or the "Road of the Earthen Gate". The brick road led to the Pak
Tho Fortress at the mouth of
Khlong Tho (2) and to the boat landing used by the former
Ayutthayan Kings, called
Tha Wasukri (3). [1]

In situ are an ordination hall (Th. ubosot) and a chedi standing on a circular base. The
structures are aligned on an east-west axis but faces west, a direction representing death
and the setting sun.

Chinese art was very popular during the reign of Rama III and many vihara and ubosot
were constructed in imitation of Chinese buildings without Thai-style roofing decorations.
The roof structure was composed of brick work, instead of the wooden structures as is
here the case. [3] The gables are not decorated. The monastic structures during the Early
Ratanakosin period (1782 - 1851) followed the Late Ayutthaya style (1629 - 1767).
We have here an ubosot with a three-tiered roof surrounded by a porch or veranda
indicative for this period. In the Late Ayutthaya period the base of the buildings was
curved, although this curved line disappeared in the later Ratanakosin architecture. The
ordination hall has five windows on each side and two doors in the front and in the rear
of each side. The ubosot is built on a platform that can be accessed by two staircases on
each side, rear and front.

The chedi, constructed on a round base, has one staircase on the northern side leading to
the platform where the dome or anda rests. The square anda has three rabbets on the
four corners, a popular construction in Early Ratanakosin period. This type of stupa is
called a twelve rabbet-angled chedi.

The outer wall has three low entrances on the north, west and south sides and is partly
built on top of old palace ramparts.

Wat Mai Chai Wichit is located in Geo Coord: 14° 21' 37.47" N, 100° 33' 26.91" E.

Footnotes:

(1) His full title was Phraya Chai Wichit Sitthi Satra Maha Prathetrat Surachat Senabodi.
First name was "Phuak". At that time last names were not in vigor.
(2) Pak Tho Fortress is also called Pom Thai Sanam (The Fort at the Rear of the
Garden).
(3) Tha Wasukri was a landing adjacent and to the east of Tha Khoi (literally the
"Waiting Landing" also known as Tha Khan) at the northeastern corner of the Grand
Palace. It was the jetty for the king and had a permanent corridor (Th. chanuan) to
screen royal ladies from public view. [2]

References:

[1] Ayutthaya Historical Park - Fine Arts Department (2003) - page 86/87 (Th.).
[2] Khun Chang Khun Phaen: 32 - The presentation of Soi Thong and Soi Fa.
[3] An outline of the History of Religious Architecture in Thailand - Sonthiwan Intralib
(1991) - page 41.
Wat Mai Chai Wichit seen from the east
Wat Mai Chai Wichit seen from the north
Wat Mai Chai Wichit seen from the north
Text, maps & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - November 2009
Updated January 2015
(Wat Mai Chai Wichit seen from the east)
(Wat Mai Chai Wichit seen from the north)
(Wat Mai Chai Wichit seen from the north)
Detail of a 19th century map
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)