|WAT MONTHOP 2 (วัดมณฑป)
|Wat Monthop is located off the main island in the Southeast. It is situated on land now
used by Wat Phanan Choeng as a crematorium. A very large Chinese graveyard
surrounds the remains of this former monastery.
A large sala has been constructed on the site where Wat Monthop once stood. A
modern image of Buddha in the Subduing Mara pose stands at the altar, while two
smaller images sit to his left and right (oddly facing away from Buddha). This shrine also
showcases some detritus from more ancient Buddha images. An old well is also in situ,
but it is not clear if this was part of Wat Monthop.
I visited this monastery in 2001 with a group of students. A Buddhist monk invited me
and my students to participate in an unusual ritual. Apparently, some burial mounds are
occasionally opened up and the bodies exhumed. It is considered good merit to scrap
the remaining flesh off the bones so that they can be latter shipped back to ancestral
homeland in China. This practice is well documented in some countries, including parts of
the United States where Chinese were involved with mining and railroad construction. To
no surprise, my students declined to accept the monks invitation.
|Text & photographs by Ken May - April 2009
Maps by Tricky Vandenberg - July 2010
The earliest sign of Wat Monthop on a map is the one of Phraya Boran Rachathanin
drafted in 1926. The monastery was not exactly situated there where the sala with a
Buddha image was built (east of the well), but more close to the road at the entry of the
cemetery. Apparently there are no traces of the former temple remaining above ground
level. Based on a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map, the monastery should have been
located in Geo Coord: 14° 20' 33.06" N, 100° 34' 45.18" E.
The former temple premises came in the news in October 2013, when the temple
committee of Wat Phanan Choeng decided that the remains of more than 1600 people in
the traditional Chinese graveyard needed to be exhumed, to turn the area into a car park
and to allow the construction of a building for convalescing monks. 
 The Nation - 11 October 2013 - Temple wants remains from graveyard removed.
|Addendum by Tricky Vandenberg - December 2013
|(Sala on the premises of the Chinese graveyard)
|(The well in the graveyard)
|(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)