WAT THA YAK (วัดท่ายักษ์)
Wat Tha Yak was situated off the city island in the northern area of Ayutthaya in Suan
Phrik Sub-district, on the boundary with the Pho Sam Ton Sub-district of Bang Pahan.
The ruin is located on the east bank of the old
Lopburi River on a stretch presently called
Khlong Bang Khuat, 200 meters south of Wat Dao Khanong.

Author stumbled on this brickwork when looking for the remains of the northern tax
station. There are bricks spread all over the site and along the bank of the canal. South of
the standing brickwork is an old pond.

The remaining construction is  a bit strange, divulging a standing Buddha image in a portal
and having, what looks like, gateways on both sides; a fort-like construction.

Its historical background and period of construction are unknown.

The site is not registered on the Fine Arts Department map drafted in 1993 as the
location of the temple is situated outside the limits of the map.

In interviews with people living in the vicinity of the ruin it was not possible to gather
much information. The temple stood empty since at least more than 70 years as most of
them knew the ruin since their childhood. They used to call this temple Tha Yak as it was
called that name by their parents and grandparents. A local woman commented that the
temple was built by the Burmese, pointing to the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767 and the
presence of the Burmese camp in the vicinity, but this is a generic for most of the
brickwork in this area. [1] [2]

Conclusion is that nobody seems to know the exact meaning of "Tha Yak". Literally
translated it means the "Landing of the Yaksa", may be referring to the Yak Kubera,
guardian of the north. It could also be interpreted as big or large, as thus the "Large
Landing".

Following old documents one of the four royal customs house was situated near Ban
Bang Luang in the turn of Ban Maen and the Pho Sam Ton waterway. [3] It stood
behind Wat Na Phra That and in the front of the temple was a market place. [4]

Here remain some questions. Ban Bang Luang seems to be unknown in this area. There
is though a
Wat Luang within the oxbow of the old Lopburi River in Wat Tum
sub-district a few hundred meters south of the location of Wat Tha Yak. The name of the
temple may have been derived from the name Bang Luang, as a monastery was often the
center of a community and "Bang" is also used to indicate a village along a waterway. It
remains a guess.

Wat Na Phra That is the name for an important monastery with a reliquary tower. As the
old documents comment, such a temple would likely not exist outside the city walls. The
name of the temple was probably mistaken in the old texts or mis-copied from older
manuscripts. Wat Na Phra That is as thus likely not the correct name for the temple in
this location.  

Tha Yak could refer to the landing of the Customs or Toll House, a landing which was
probably not so small in size as all trade (boat traffic) coming in over the Lopburi River
(and from the North) was controlled here and tax levied.

The ruin of Wat Tha Yak is located in geographical coordinates: 14° 24' 8.83" N, 100°
32' 43.83" E.

References:

[1] Interview with the Sarawat Kamnan of Suan Phrik sub-district on 27 April 2011.
[2] Interview with villagers in vicinity of the ruin on 4 May 2011.
[3] Athibai Phaenthi Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya kap khamwinitjai khong Phraya Boran
Racha Thanin - Explanation of the map of the Capital of Ayutthaya with a ruling of
Phraya Boran Rachathanin (2007) - Revised 2nd edition and Geography of the
Ayutthaya Kingdom - Ton Chabab print office - Nonthaburi (2007) - page 89.
[4] Phanna phumisathan Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya: Ekasan jak Ho Luang -
Geographical description of Ayutthaya: Documents from the palace - Dr Vinai
Pongsripian - Bangkok (2007) - page 44.
Text, map & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg
Updated February 2015
View from the west
View from the north
Standing Buddha image in portal
View from the west
(View from the west)
(View from the north)
(Standing Buddha image in portal)
(View from the west)