CHEDI AI & YI





The two chedis from the early Ayutthaya period are located in central Ayutthaya on the crossing of Naresuan Rd (former Pa Than Rd) and the Chikun Rd next to the Pa Than Bridge, opposite Wat Racha Burana. They are part of the Ayutthaya Historical Park.

In situ are the ruins of two brick chedis dating from 1424 CE, each with an octagonal base. Chedi Ai Phraya (the smallest ruin) is situated north of Chedi Yi Phraya. Following the Fine Arts Department, the two chedis were surrounded by an outer wall, although no traces remain.

History relates that King Intharacha I had three sons, named according to the old numerical system (Ai = first, Yi = second and Sam = third). On the death of their father, in 1424 CE, the two elder sons, Ai Phraya living in Suphanburi, and Yi Phraya living in Sanburi (1), fought for the throne in Ayutthaya. Both princes engaged each other in personal combat mounted on an elephant on or near the Charcoal Quarter Bridge (Saphan Pa Than). Both were severely wounded and died from the fight. The youngest brother, Chao Sam Phraya, living in Chai Nat, was then proclaimed King under the title of Boromaracha II. The King commanded two chedis built on the site where his brothers engaged in combat.


"In 780, a year of the dog, tenth of the decade, King Intharacha I passed away, having been on the royal throne for fifteen years. Prince Ai Phraya and Prince Yi Phraya moved in to contend with each other for the royal throne. Prince Ai Phraya came and set himself up in the Municipality of Maphrao Forest at the Chai Pavilion Monastery. Prince Yi Phraya came and set himself up at the Chaiyaphum Monastery so as to enter the city by way of the Cao Phrom Market. The chief elephants met and engaged each other at the foot of Than Forest Bridge. Both princes wielded war scythes and both had their throats torn open at the same time. The chief ministers went out to have an audience with Prince Sam Phraya and, informing him of the events whereby his older brothers had both had their necks slashed while fighting on elephants, invited him to enter the Capital and ascend the royal throne. He took the royal title of King Bòromracha II. He then had the bodies of Prince Ai Phraya and Prince Yi Phraya dug up and taken to be cremated. On the cremation site he had a monastery, with a great holy reliquary and a preaching hall, established and named it the Ratchaburana Monastery. On the site where Prince Ai Phraya and Prince Yi Phraya fought each other to the death on elephants, at the foot of Than Forest Bridge, he had two holy monuments erected." [1]


George Bacon recalls this incident: “One curious tradition is on record, the date of which is at the beginning of the fifteenth century. On the death of King Intharaxa, the sixth of the dynasty, his two eldest sons, who were rulers of smaller provinces, hastened, each one from his home, to seize their father's vacant throne. Mounted on elephants they hastened to Ayuthia, and by strange chance arrived at the same moment at a bridge, crossing in opposite directions. The princes were at no loss to understand the motive each of his brother's journey. A contest ensued upon the bridge a contest so furious and desperate that both fell, killed by each other's hands. One result of this tragedy was to make easy the way of the youngest and surviving brother, who, coming by an undisputed title to the throne, reigned long and prosperously." [2]


Footnotes:


(1) Sankha Buri in Chai Nat province is a historic site on the Noi River and dates back to the Sukhothai period. Before the Ayutthaya period (1351-1767 CE), the town was known as Phraek Sri Racha (Mueang Phraek) and was built by King Lerthai in 1317 CE. The town was in the 15th century under Ayutthaya, as Chao Yi Phraya, second son of King Intharacha (reign 1409-1424 CE) of the Suphannaphum dynasty, was named ruler of this city by his father. Mueang San was as thus, in fact, a ‘Mueang Luk’ in the early Ayutthaya period. The town was likely already occupied in the Dvaravati Period (6-11th century) and followed by Khmer rule (12th century) after that, before becoming a frontier city of Sukhothai. It was an important defensive post in both the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya Kingdoms.





References:

[1] Cushman, Richard D. Wyatt, David K. (2006). The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya. The Siam Society. p.15 / Source: Luang Prasoet - King Boromracha II, 1424-1448.
[2] Bacon, George B. (1893). Siam, the land of the white elephant. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. p. 23.