|WAT SAPHAN NAK (วัดสะพานนาค)
|Wat Saphan Nak or the Monastery of the Naga Bridge is situated on Ayutthaya's city
island in Pratu Chai Sub-district on the property of Ayutthaya Wittayalai School south of
Bueng Phra Ram Park.
On the premises of this school we find four other temple sites being Wat Pa Sak, Wat
Mae Nang Muk, Wat Pa Rong and Wat Chatthan. From the last two there are no traces
left, at least above ground level.
The monastery figures on a mid-19th century map under the denomination 'Taphan Nak'
and stood north of Wat Pa Nai. Wat Song Khon was on its east, while Wat Traitrung
was on its west.
Phraya Boran Rachathanin on his 1926 map adjusted this position in indicating Wat
Saphan Nak just south of Wat Song Khon. The same disposition we find on the later
drafted Fine Arts Department maps.
The monastery was called after a wooden bridge in its vicinity. The Naga Bridge
(Saphan Nak) crossed the canal Lam Khu Pak Sra - Khlong Pratu Thep Mi and was
part of the Thanon Talaeng Kaeng or the Street of the Gallows (or at least part of its
extension), running from the Lam Hoei Bridge (over Khlong Pak Tho) towards the
Chikun Bridge (over Khlong Pratu Jin).
Wat Saphan Nak is indicated on the mid-19th century map north of Talaeng Kaeng
Street and mentioned with two chedis. The foundations of the most eastern chedi likely
disappeared - at least partly - under a modern structure built in situ, parallel with the
remnants of Khlong Pratu Thep Mi.
The site is easily accessible. It features a still standing classic bell-shaped chedi in
Ayutthayan style. The dome rests on an octagonal base. The damaged spire counted
likely 31 rings representing the Thirty-one Planes of Existence and around 25 rings can
still be seen. The throne has been largely damaged, while the brick dome is pierced by
holes dug by looters in search for gold, valuables and relics.
There are signs that the chedi once had been expanded as there is a second layer of
bricks visible around the initial (slender) dome. On the southern side is a kind of bulge, a
possible indication of the former existence of a porch leading to a crypt.
The brick foundations of the monastic structure standing to the east of the chedi are still
visible. The complex was oriented on an east-west axis with the main Buddha image and
the entry facing east. Bricks and roof tiles are scattered over the area. Some bricks have
been gathered and piled up; other are used for decoration around new plantations.
The ruin is situated in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 07.15" N, 100° 33' 53.94" E.
This site - being part of the Historic City of Ayutthaya - has been largely neglected over
the years and need to be urgently restored.
|Text, maps & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - August 2009
Updated January 2012, May 2015
|(View of Wat Saphan Nak from the southwest)
|(Remaining foundations in situ)
|(Broken pieces of Buddha images in situ)
|(View of the chedi from the north)
|(Detail of a 19th century map - map is orientated S-N)
|(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)
|Site view of Wat Saphan Nak two months after the flood which hit the Historic City
of Ayutthaya and its Historical Park in the evening of 7 October 2011. Pictures
were taken on 2 January 2012. This site is in a very deteriorated state and needs
urgent restoration as part of the Historic City of Ayutthaya.
(Photographs by Tricky Vandenberg)