WAT BAMRUNG THAM





Wat Bamrung Tham, or the Monastery of Keeping up the Dharma (1), is an active monastery located off the city island in the northern area of Ayutthaya in the Ban Mai Sub-district.

In situ are a new monastic complex and an old deconsecrated ordination hall in the early Ayutthaya style (1351-1488 CE). The old ubosot has a single elevated porch with two entries in the east and a back door on the western side. There are three rectangular windows on the northern and southern sides. The roof is two-tiered, an architectural feature that took root in the middle Ayutthaya period (1488-1629 CE). On the western side of the ubosot stands a two-rabbeted angled chedi. The old monastic structures are surrounded by a wall (Th: Kamphaeng Kaeo or crystal wall), separating the monastic world from the secular world.

The new ubosot was built in the late Ayutthaya style (1629-1767 CE). It is a remarkable, very slender hall with a three-tiered roof. The gable is beautifully decorated with an image of Vishnu riding Garuda. There are five rectangular windows on the longest sides. The hall has two porches with two entries and is also surrounded by a wall. Four columns on each porch support the roof. The structure stands in a northwest-southeast alignment.

Wat Bamrung Tham was definitely in the Ayutthayan era, a small local temple serving the community in its vicinity. The temple grounds expanded over time.

Historical data about the monastery and its construction are unknown. The temple was known as Wat Saphan Yao or the 'Monastery of the Long Bridge". (2)

The site is not indicated on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926 CE, as the temple is located on the outskirts of Ayutthaya City.

The site is in geographical coordinates: 14° 23' 23.49" N, 100° 31' 17.06" E.

Footnotes:

(1) บำรุง = to maintain, keep up, keep in good condition ธรรม = Dharma (Buddhist teachings).
(2) I visited the location of Wat Tha Klong in Ban Bang Pahan on 21 March 2012 after finding a chedi near the confluence of the Lopburi River and Khlong Ko Loeng on a military map. Its existence was confirmed by the retired Kamnan Man of Khayai Sub-district. The retired Kamnan of Ban Bang Pahan told me that Wat Bamrung Tham in Ban Mai was called earlier Wat Saphan Yao.




The old vihara at Wat Bamrung Tham.