WAT CHONG LOM 1 (วัดช่องลอม)
just north of Ko Loi (another island in the vicinity). The only way to access this shrine is
by boat. This island has no walking path or road. Only eight families currently live on it,
but some of their houses are quite traditional and beautiful. The only business is a single
shop house, which delivers groceries around the city by boat. The island lacked basic
utilities such as plumbing and electricity until recent decades. The people living here
usually make merit at
Wat Tong Pu, which is located on the opposite side of the river
from Wat Chong Lom.

Wat Chong Lom is mostly comprised of single structure. It is an open-aired sala with five
Buddha images of various sizes inside - all in the Taming Mara pose. A second structure
can be seen close to the edge of the river. This open-aired sala encases a single Buddha
image. A bodhi tree grows nearby, and a few bricks are still visible within its roots. A
modern-day spirit house stands beside the tree.

The history of this monastery is unclear. It appears on Phraya Boran Rachathanin’s 1926
map. Not much is known about it otherwise. The people living on the island seem to
believe that a monastery was located on this site during the Ayutthaya period, but there is
not much evidence to support this idea. Perhaps a bigger mystery is why the island exists
in the first place. Evidence suggests that it is not a natural island, and both it and Ko Loi
were originally connected geographically to the eastern side of the city (in the vicinity of
the ancient Ayodhaya kingdom). This would place Wat Chong Lom at the confluence of
Pa Sak River and the Lopburi River - a strategically vital location. A more likely
confluence, however, would be at the
Maha Chai Fortress, where the Pa Sak River
Khlong Bang Khuat (the old Lopburi River).

In 1577, King Maha Thammaracha constructed the
Front Palace for Prince Naresuan,
which was then known as Wang Chand because it was made from sandalwood
(Kasetsiri & Wright 120). This construction also altered the geography of the area and
created Khlong Maprao and at least one section of Ko Loi.

Royal Chronicles point out that later, in 1580, King Maha Thammaracha ordered that
the walls of the Royal metropolis by rebuilt to the bank of the river. At the same time, he
had the moat on the eastern side of the ramparts dug wider and ordered that a canal be
dug from Pom Maha Chai to
Pom Phet - connecting the two fortresses (Cushman 82).
This could be either
Khlong Nai Kai (Makham Riang), a small expansion of the Pa Sak
River, or possibly even both, depending on your interpretation. Although this information
does not confirm Wat Chong Lom’s precise history, it does suggest that the island it sits
upon was created between 1577-1580.
Sala on Ko Chong Lom
Shrine near a Bodhi tree
Buddha images at Sala Wat Chong Lom

Khlong Chong Lom separates Ko Chong Lom from Ko Loi. Khlong Chong Lom has
been dug in the early 20th century to reduce the whirlpools near Wat Tong Pu and the
Chantra Kasem Palace, separating Wat Chong Lom from the eastern mainland. As the
Lopburi River and the canal leading to the Pa Sak River were joining near Wat Tong Pu
and the erosive force of the joint waterways (incliding the waters coming from Khlong
Hua Ro, the old Lopburi River) were destroying the embankment in front of the Chantra
digging of Khlong Chong Lom. Khlong Sai, a small canal cutting through the eastern main
land, from Wat Chong Lom to the present Ayutthaya Ship Building Industrial and
Technology College, was widened and deepened. The Pa Sak River instead of running
Khlong Hantra, changed its main course and ran straight from Wat Pa Kho to
Wat Phanan Choeng. [1]

The commemoration sala of Wat Chong Lom is located in Geo Coord: 14° 22' 18.23"
N, 100° 34' 43.00" E.


[1] Wat Monthop (Amphur Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya) - Phayaw Khemnad (2010) -
Fine Arts Department - 3th Region.
Addendum & maps by Tricky Vandenberg - April 2014
(Sala on Ko Chong Lom)
(Shrine near a Bodhi tree)
(Buddha images at Sala Wat Chong
Sala Wat Chong Lom seen from the former Pa Sak River connection canal
(Sala Wat Chong Lom seen from the former Pa Sak
River connection canal running along Wat Tong Pu)
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)