WAT KET 1 (วัดเกษ)
Wat Ket is located within the Ayutthaya Historical Park between Wat Phra Ram and
the location used or elephant shows (Wang Chang). This restored ruin can easily be seen
on the corner of Pa Thon Road, and the show elephants will give tourists rides beside it.

During the Ayutthaya period, Wat Ket was situated near the original jail. Convicts visited
this temple for a final chance to pray before execution. Brahmin priest often played a role
in judicial affairs. Punishment was done in various ways depending on the crime and the
status of the person involved. Some criminals were trampled to death or thrown around
by elephants. Others had swords dropped on their heads from specified heights
according to severity of their crime. Beheadings were also common.

In contrast, Royal executions often took place at
Wat Khok Phraya. The Royal family
member would be stuffed into a velvet sack and beaten with a sandalwood club, so that
royal blood could not be spilled onto the soil.

The main chedi at Wat Ket has a unique pyramidal shape, the only one of its kind in the
city. The foundation of an eastern-oriented sermon hall can also be seen. A large pool
with a staircase is viewable behind the main chedi, and there is evidence that a small
moat once surrounded this monastery.  

There appears to have been at least one failed attempt to reactivate this temple during
the Ratanakosin period. An urban slum formed in the area around Wat Ket, and
squatters remained as late as the mid-1990s. Jane Bramley wrote in 1969 that the
monks at Wat Ket received only 30 Baht per month, which tied as the lowest rate in the
city (Bramley 333). The attempt to reactivate Wat Ket fizzled as the neighborhood
population was forced to relocate. It was then incorporated into the National Park as a
protected site.

In 1996, a place west of Wat Ket was reserved for elephant shows (Wang Chang).  
This was part of the government's plan to preserve Thai culture while promoting the local
tourism industry. These elephants work at this site during the day, they are actually
transported to the
elephant kraal (Phaniat) to sleep at night.
View from the east
Front view of Wat Ket
Text & photographs by Ken May - June 2009
(View from the east)
(Front view of Wat Ket)

Wat Ket was likely dedicated to the guardian spirit Jao Ket, spirit of the Ho Klong or
drum tower, which stood in its vicinity. The drum tower was a massive structure on which
top, drums were beaten to warn the populace in the case of fire or other danger. This
tower has since long disappeared. Jao Ket was a true spirit (phi) created by the sacrifice
of a suitable individual as the spirit of the Jao Ho Klong. The poor individual was buried
in the foundations underneath the structure (foundation sacrifices). [1]

The restored ruin of Wat Ket is located in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 9.38" N,
100° 33' 36.08" E.
Addendum & maps by Tricky Vandenberg - March 2012
Updated June 2014

[1] Siamese State Ceremonies - Their history and function - H.G. Quaritch Wales
(1931) - London, Bernard Quaritch, Ltd. - Page 302-3.
Jao Ket riding a serpent and holding a sabre
Jao Ket riding a serpent and holding a sabre. A brahminical diety to whom
offerings were made in Siam, when evils were to be averted or success sought.
Detail of a 19th century map
Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map - Anno 1926
Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map
(Detail of a 19th century map - Courtesy Sam Chao
Phraya Museum)
(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)