Wat Borom Wong Isarawararam (Worawihan) is located off the city island along the west bank of the new Lopburi River in the northeastern area. It is situated in Suan Phrik Sub-district in the vicinity of the elephant kraal along the road leading from the kraal towards the Asian Highway. The temple is in use by the Buddhist clergy.

The main monastic structures, next to multiple other structures from the recent time, are the ordination hall with chedi and a vihara to commemorate King Rama V. Foundations of ruins are visible to the south of the ordination hall. They are overgrown by trees and protected by a low wall.

The temple's location was called in earlier times "Thamle Ya" or the "grass locality", as the whole area was a large grass field. The temple was first called "Wat Thamle Ya" in reference to its locality but soon changed by the local population into "Wat Thale Ya" or the "Monastery of the Sea of Grass".

After the first fall of Ayutthaya, King Maha Thammaracha (1569-1590 CE) ordered the old elephant kraal near Wat Song to be moved to the present site, and a canal dug from "Tha Chang Wang Na" (Front Palace Elephant Landing) towards the old Lopburi River, presently called Khlong Hua Ro.

The monastery survived the siege of Ayutthaya by the Burmese in 1767 CE. It was never left by the monks and continued being occupied by the Buddhist Sangha during the Rattanakosin period (1782 CE onwards).

The Royal family line of sponsors of this temple met her end at the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767 CE. The Chronicles state that a large part of the Royal lineage was "rounded up and removed" to Ava. Nobody took care of the monastery's repair or renovation, and it decayed slowly over time.

In 1876 CE Somdet Phra Chao Borommawong (1) looked into repairing the elephant kraal and discovered "Wat Thale Ya" not so far away from the kraal. Borommawong found the monastery in a horrible shape and decided to sponsor the temple's restoration. He offered the temple to King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910 CE) (Rama V), who bestowed a new name on the temple naming it Wat Borommawong Isarawararam, its present name.

Somdet Phra Chao Borommawong died in 1901 CE. Between this time and 1908 CE, a lot of infrastructural changes occurred. New shelters for the monks (Kuti) were built a large pond was dug, while the canal in the North giving out into the Lopburi River, the Khlong Nam Ya, was repaired and widened over 200 m, making the monastery easier to be accessed by boat. King Chulalongkorn oversaw all these works.

Wat Borommawong is a Royal temple of the fourth grade in the second class following a ranking system for royal temples initiated in 1913 CE. It has the suffix "Worawihan" added to its name. The ordination hall of Royal temples has double boundary stones or "Bai sema" around its structure (2). This monastery follows the old school called Maha Nikaya (meaning the Great Sect).

In 1916 CE, restoration occurred at the vihara and the ordination hall, in which walls were showing large cracks at that time.

More infrastructure works were done in 1960 CE. The western vihara was turned into a commemoration hall for King Chulalongkorn. The "Trimuk" or "three-gabled roof" vihara is beautifully decorated. It contains many photographs of the Royal family members during the reign of King Rama V.

Wat Borommawong is in geographical coordinates: 14° 22' 56.41" N, 100° 34' 2.92" E.


Wat Thale Ya was notorious as part of a battlefield in 1760 CE. The Burmese King Alaungpaya (reign 1752-1760 CE) was very ambitious to subjugate the territories formerly occupied by his predecessors. An excuse was quickly found to start a war with Siam, and the Burmese King was invading the country from the south. Little resistance was set up, and we found Alaungpaya soon encamped near the City of Ayutthaya.

The consternation was total at Ayutthaya: Prince Uthumphon, the King's younger brother, was recalled from the Pradu Songtham Monastery to prepare the city for a siege. The Burmese vanguard set up camp north of Ayutthaya, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River.

The Chinese Luang Aphai Phiphat organised an army of 2000 Chinese men and moved forward to erect a stockade, north of the city in the area of Pho Sam Ton (Three Fig Trees) across Khlong Chang (3). Mun Thep Sena, with 1000 Siamese troops, had to reinforce and assist the Chinese Brigade. He encamped near Wat Thale Ya (later named Wat Borommawong) in the Thale Ya area.

The Burmese front brigade master Maeng La Maeng Khong, saw the Chinese preparations for an enclosure and acted swift. He crossed the Chao Phraya River and, with his troops, attacked the Chinese, still busy with their stockade preparations. The Chinese Brigade was routed, pushed into the old Lopburi River (actual Khlong Bang Khuat - Khlong Hua Ro - Khlong Ban Muang) and fled to the opposite side of the river. The Burmese Cavalry drove their horses over the river and killed the Chinese in the water and on the riverbanks. The remaining Chinese troops were chased right up to the Siamese troops of Mun Thep Sena. The latter failed to advance and reinforce the withdrawal of the Chinese forces. The Siamese troops at their turn were routed in the vicinity of the Thale Ya Monastery and were killed in great numbers. The remaining men fled back into the city.

The Burmese troops advanced to the Hua Ro area. They installed stockades at the Elephant Kraal, Wat Sam Wihan and Wat Chedi Daeng and prepared a siege of Ayutthaya. [1]

The city of Ayutthaya escaped destruction at that time. King Alaungpaya fired himself a cannon positioned in the vicinity of Wat Na Phra Men to shoot into the Royal Palace. Unfortunately for him, the cannon burst (they sometimes had the brilliant idea to load two cannonballs instead of a single), and he got seriously wounded. Shortly after, he decided to withdraw. Alaungpaya died from his wounds at Taikkala before reaching the Salween River (4). [2]


(1) Somdet Phrachao Borommawong Malakrom Phraya Bamrap Ponpak Chaokrom Phra Kotban.

(2) Almost at the end of the reign of King Mongkut (reign 1804-1868 CE), the sima holy space was extended to cover all structures in the entire worship complex of the shrine, pagoda and ordination hall, exemplified in Wat Borommawong in 1867 CE. (3) Khlong Chang was a canal connecting the old Lopburi River (now called Khlong Hua Ro - Khlong Bang Khuat - Khlong Muang) at Wat Dao Khanong in Bang Pahan District with the new Lopburi River at Wat Ton Satu in the same district. Until the late 1940’s the area was sealed with "Sao Thalung", the same wooden poles used at the Elephant Kraal. Elephants were driven from Wat Dao Khanong past Khlong Chang to Wat Ton Satu and straight into the Elephant kraal.

(4) Burmese history does not recount this issue but alleges Alaungpaya died from a disease caused by a carbuncle.


[1] Cushman, Richard D. & Wyatt, David K. (2006). The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya. Bangkok: The Siam Society. pp. 481-2.

[2] Wood, William, A.R. (1924). A History of Siam. Chalermnit Press. pp. 241-2