WAT PA KHO (วัดป่าโค)
Ordination hall of Wat Pa Kho
Text & photograph by Tricky Vandenberg - May 2009
Updated January 2014
Wat Pa Kho or the Monastery of the Cattle Quarteris an active temple in use by the
Buddhist clergy (1). The temple is located off the city island in the northeastern area in
Hantra Sub-district at Ban Ko, formerly known as Ban Sala Khwian. Wat Pa Kho is
situated at the origin of
Khlong Hantra and its split-off from the Pa Sak River.

The name of this temple hints to local economic activity. In the Ayutthayan era, the area
was a place were cattle, mainly oxen and buffalos, was traded. De La Loubère wrote
that in Siam, oxen and buffaloes were employed in husbandry and used for tillage, while
the cows were slaughtered but the meat was very bad to eat. Milk was taken from the
female buffaloes "
which has more Cream, than the Milk of our Cows; but
they make not any sort of Cheese, and scarce any Butter
. " [2]

"They equally employ Oxen and Buffalo in Husbandry. They guide them with a
Rope put through a hole which they make in the Cartilage that separates the
Nostrils: And to the end that the Rope may not slip when they draw it, they do
tie a knot on each side. This same Cord runs also through a hole, which is at the
end of the draught Tree of their Plough."
[2]

De La Loubère instructs us also on the races of oxen held in Ayutthaya, and probably all
over Siam.

"The running of Oxen is perform’d in this manner. They mark out a Plat of 500
Fathom in length, and two in breadth, with four Trunks, which are planted at the
four Corners, to serve as Boundaries; and it is round these Limits that the Course
is run. In the middle of this place they erect a Scaffold for the Judges: and the
more precisely to mark out the middle, which is the place from whence the Oxen
were to start, they do plant a very high Post against the Scaffold. Sometimes ‘tis
only a single Ox which runs against another, the one and the other being guided
by two men running afoot, which do hold the Reins, or rather the String put into
their Noses, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and other
Men are posted at certain distances, to ease those which run. But most frequently
it is a Yoke of Oxen fasten’d to a Plough, which runs against another Yoke of
Oxen joined to another Plough; some Men guide them on the right side and on
the left, as when it is only a single Ox which runs against another: But besides
this, it is necessary that each Plough be so well sustained in the Air by a Man
running, that it never touch the ground, for fear it retard the Animals that draw
it; and these men which thus support the Ploughs, are more frequently reliev’d
than the others. Now tho’ the Ploughs run both after the same manner, turning
always to the right round the space which I have described, they set not out from
the same place. The one starts at one side of the scaffold, and the other at the
other, to run reciprocally one after the other. Thus at the beginning of their
Course they look from opposite places, and they are distant one from the other
half a Circle, or half the space over which they were to run. Yet they run after the
same manner, as I have said, turning several times round the four Boundaries,
which I have mentioned, till the one overtakes the other. The Spectators are
nevertheless all round, yet it is not necessary to have Bars to hinder from
approaching too near. These Courses are sometimes the subject of Bettings, and
the Lords do breed and train up small, but well-proportion’d Oxen for this
Exercise; and instead of Oxen, they do likewise make use of Buffalo’s."
[2]

The skin of cattle was used in the water for making mortar. The Siamese boiled the
water with a certain bark, skins of oxen or buffaloes and sugar, making a mortar
of better quality than in the West. Buffaloes or oxen were also used in warfare to draw
artillery carts, as the large guns had no carriage. [2]

Another temples with some relation to cattle are
Wat Khao Wua aka Wat Khai Wua
situated in the northern sector of Ayutthaya and
Wat Kho and Wat Wua / Wat Krabu
on the city island, east of
Khlong Nai Kai.

The historical background and period of construction of Wat Pa Kho are not known.
The monastery is situated in Geo Coord: 14° 22' 29.57" N, 100° 34' 52.34" E.

Footnotes:

(1) The word "pa" (ป่า) is normally translated as "forest" but in the Ayutthayan era it
indicated also a place were specific products were made and/or sold. Chris Baker
translates it as "a quarter". [1]

References:

[1] Chris Baker - Before Ayutthaya Fell: Economic Life in an Industrious Society -
Markets and Production in the City of Ayutthaya before 1767:Translation and Analysis
of Part of the Description of Ayutthaya - Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 99, 2011 -
page 49.
[2] de La Loubère - A new Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam (2 Tomes)
(London, 1693) - Edited by John Villiers (1986) - White Lotus, Bangkok.
(Ordination hall of Wat Pa Kho)
Vihara of Wat Pa Kho
(Vihara of Wat Pa Kho)
Ordination hall of Wat Pa Kho
(Ordination hall of Wat Pa Kho)
Wat Pa Kho landing on the Pa Sak River
(Wat Pa Kho landing on the Pa Sak River)
Wat Pa Kho at the origin of the Hantra Canal
(Wat Pa Kho at the origin of the Hantra Canal)
Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map
(Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map -
Courtesy of the Fine Arts Department - 3th Region)