WAT PHO PHUEAK 3
Wat Pho Phueak or the Monastery of the White Bodhi Tree is an active monastery
located off the city island in the northwestern area in Ban Mai Sub-district. It is situated
on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River.

In situ is a rather new monastic complex with different structures. The ordination hall (Th:
ubosot) is the oldest structure on the premises, built in the Late Ayutthaya style (1629 -
1767). The hall stands in the classical east-west alignment and has a two-tiered roof. The
ubosot has two porches with two entries each and is surrounded by a wall. Two columns
on each porch support the roof. There are four rectangular windows on the northern and
southern sides.

On the premises are different modern monastic structures. There is a commemoration
hall attributed to King Taksin and a kind of mandapa (Th: mondop) surrounded by four
wooden poles coming from the Elephant Kraal (locally called Sao Talung) to worship
Ganesha.

A large Buddha image in meditation posture faces north along the bank of the river.

Historical data about the monastery and its construction are unknown. In the Royal
chronicles of Ayutthaya we read that during the White Elephant War in 1563 during the
reign of King Chakkraphat (r. 1548-1569), the King of Hongsawadi (Burma) Bayin
Naung set up his main army at Wat Pho Phueak Township on the Pak Khu (mouth of
the ditch) tax station rice fields as part of an encirclement of Ayutthaya. [1] The temple
could as thus already be in existence at that time.

The King of Hongsawadi, having spoken, marched his army down to Ayutthaya on
the following day, on Wednesday, the tenth day of the waning moon of the second
month, 911, a year of the cock, first of the decade. The army of the Uparat, the
vanguard, set up [BDEF: its stockade] in Phaniat Township. The stockade of the
King of Præ, the left wing, was set up at Thung Wat Photharam Township to Kò
Kæo Canal. The army of the King of Ava, the right wing, set up its stockade at [E:
Thung] Wat Phutthaisawan Township to Takhian Canal. The army of the Phraya
of Tòngu, the army of the Phraya of Cittòng and the army of the Phraya of
Lakhoeng, the commissariat, set up their stockade [BDEF: from] [C: at] [D:
Tha] Ka Ròng Monastery down to Chai Watthanaram Monastery. The army of the
Phraya of Bassein and the army of the Phraya of Sariang, the vanguard of the
main army, set up their stockade at Lumphli [BDEF: Township]. The main army
set up [CF: its stockade] at Wat Pho Phüak Township, on the Pakkhu tax station
rice fields. And the army of Prince Maha Thammaracha set up [E: its stockade] in
Makham Yòng Township behind the royal stockade. The armies, which were set up
in a circle [BDEF: around the Capital] [C: on that occasion], in only one day
finished making a network of bridges of bamboo slats sewn with rattan across all
the rivers, streams and canals so the troops and horses could walk anywhere.
[2]

The site is not indicated on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926, as the
temple has been likely reconstructed in the Ratanakosin period (post 1782 AD).

Wat Pho Phueak is located in Geo. Coord.: 14° 22' 34.10" N, 100° 31' 38.30" E.

References:

[1] The Chronicle of Our Wars with the Burmese - Prince Damrong Rajanubhab (1917)
- edition White Lotus 2001 - page 38.
[2] The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 47 /
Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat, Phra
Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph - The Hongsawadi Army Invests Ayutthaya.
Text, map & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - December 2009
Updated March 2015
Ubosot - view from the south side
Large Buddha statue along Chao Phraya River
Ganesha shrine
King Taksin Memorial Shrine
(Ubosot - view from the south side)
(Large Buddha statue along Chao Phraya River)
(King Taksin Memorial Shrine)
(Ganesha shrine)