WAT KHOK RAK (วัดโคกรัก)
Text & maps by Tricky Vandenberg - July 2010
Updated October 2014
Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map - Anno 1926
Detail of a 19th century map - map is orientated S-N
(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
(Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map -
Courtesy of the Fine Arts Department - 3th Region)
Wat  Khok Rak or the Monastery of the Mound of Crown Flower (1) was located
on Ayutthaya's city island outside the
Historical Park in Pratu Chai Sub-district. The
temple is today defunct.

The monastery was situated between
Wat Khok Muang and present Khlong Makham

In the north lie
Wat Salak,  while in the south stood Wat Kraji and Wat Saphan Ngoen.

There are no traces anymore visible of the monastery above ground level.

Historical data about the monastery and its construction are unknown. The monastery
was situated along a road the French called "
Rue des Maures" or "Moor Street", which
is now more or less the present Pa Thon Rd (more or less as the ancient road did not
have the width of the present lane and its direction (angle) was also probably not the
same) and stood east of
Wat Sao Ching Cha. Wat Kraji was located in its southeast.

The site is indicated on
Phraya Boran Rachathanin's (PBR) map drafted in 1926. On
PBR's map the monastery was situated central between
Khlong Pratu Khao Pluak and
Khlong Makham Riang and pressed between Wat Khok Muang and Wat Kraji, both
monasteries which have still brickwork in situ.

Using an overlay we find that Wat Khok Rak on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map
coincides with the location of
Wat Pet on a mid-19th century map. Wat Khok Rak is
mentioned on the mid-19th century map in another location. This location coincides with
the grounds of an unnamed monastery, east of Wat Kraji on PBR's map.

Making an assessment of all the monastic structures, in the zone demarcated by Chikun
Road, Pa Thon Road, Pridi Banomyong Road and U-Thong Road is rather difficult, as
the position and name of the structures vary on different maps. On a 19th century map,
there are 15 structures counted, while on the 20th century PBR map there are 13
mentioned. There is inconsistency in the names and the positions. Even maps drafted by
the Fine Arts Department, what I presume, based on excavations in the zone, shed no
light on this matter. Positions of monastic structures can be asserted, but their ancient
names will remain questioned forever.

Based on a 2007 Fine Arts Department map, Wat Khok Rak was located in
geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 22.30" N, 100° 34' 23.67" E.


(1) The monastery was likely called after the Crown flower, a flower called in Thailand
"Dok Rak". Crown flower or Calotropis Gigantea is a species of Calotropis native to
Thailand. It is a large shrub growing to 4 meters tall. It has clusters of waxy flowers that
are either white or lavender in colour. Each flower consists of five pointed petals and a
small, elegant crown rising from the centre, which holds the stamens. The plant has oval,
light green leaves and milky stem. The latex of Calotropis Gigantea contains cardio
glycosides, volatile fatty acids and calcium oxalate. The flowers last long, and used in
Thailand for various floral arrangements. Calotropis is also a plant used in traditional
medicine. [Wikipedia]
(Crown flower or Calotropis Gigantea)