Talking with local people in early May 2009, I was shown the location of a former monastery called Wat Bua in an area just north of the confluence of Khlong Sra Bua (1) with Khlong Hua Ro (2). The site is in a hamlet of tile and brickmakers.

This village is remarkable as they use ancient techniques to make roof tiles. Orders are coming from all around the country, even from Phuket, as it seems the only place in Thailand that still does it in the ‘old fashion way’. The kiln site is off the city island at the Suan Phrik Sub-district.

A sub-district government worker confirmed the existence of the former temple. There were no remnants of the monastery left, but a commemorating shrine was built in situ. The site has never been excavated and was not found on any map.

I interviewed locals at the kiln in the vicinity of the site, and all confirmed the existence of a temple. In situ is a small commemoration shrine near a Khoi tree, with at its foot some broken parts of Buddha statues. The walls of this temple were still standing in the 1950s, and the bricks were later sold and loaded on a boat anchored at the old Lopburi River. One local stated some bricks were delivered to Wat Pom Raman (monastery in the vicinity), including a large Buddha image without arms and legs cut off the knees. [1]

Wat Bua = Wat Khuha Sawan?

Tentative to prove that the site called by the local population Wat Bua might be Wat Khuha Sawan or "The Monastery of the Heavenly Cave" from the old documents.

The old documents mention textually "the Lao Market above Wat Khuha Sawan".

Phraya Boran Rachathanin, in his "Athibai Phaenthi Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya", mentions the monasteries, the markets etc, in a structural way. If we look at the page summing up the markets, the latter are listed from north to south in the northern area of Ayutthaya. First, he lists Wat Phra Maha That Market behind the (Northern) Royal Tax station, which corresponds with the location of Wat Tha Yak on the east bank of the old Lopburi River the second market (Laotian market) north of Wat Khuha Sawan the third market is at Khlong Nam Ya (with its mouth at old Lopburi River). The conclusion is that Wat Khuha Sawan likely was located along the old Lopburi River between Wat Tha Yak and the mouth of Khlong Nam Ya. [2]

At present Ban Khayai, Sub-district of Bang Pahan, covers the east and west banks of the new Lopburi River, south of Ko Duan Ban Pho Sam Ton Sub-district of Bang Pahan covers the east and west banks of the old Lopburi River, while Ban Suan Phrik Sub-district of Ayutthaya seals off in the south. I found that the present administrative structure was changed from the old one. The latter compasses Ban Pho Sam Ton on the west bank of the old Lopburi River, Ban Khayai on the east bank of the new Lopburi River, while Ban Lao was situated between the new and the old Lopburi River hence north of the location of the site mentioned above. The indication of Ban Lao can be found on mid-20th-century military maps. The Lao market above Wat Khuha Sawan (aka Wat Bua) makes sense.

Remark 109 of Ref [2] opt that the temple was likely situated at the end of Khlong Sra Bua. The site is precisely opposite the end of the Lotus Pond Canal. As was common earlier, monasteries were set up along the main communication roads, hence canals. The site is located near the confluence of Khlong Sra Bua and the old Lopburi River. I conclude that this site is a perfect match for the location of Wat Khuha Sawan.

The site is in geographical coordinates: 14° 22' 56.36" N, 100° 33' 35.42" E.


(1) Khlong Sra Bua, or the Lilly Pond Canal, is a canal situated in the northern area, off the city island, in the Khlong Sra Bua District. The waterway splits from Khlong Hua Ro between Wat Ngiu (defunct) and Wat Si Liam. The canal has its mouth at the City Canal (Khlong Mueang) between Wat Na Phra Men and Wat Mai in front of the northeastern corner of the Grand Palace. The canal was a shortcut in the old Lopburi River.
(2) Khlong Hua Ro is situated off the city island in the northern area, north of Hua Ro Sub-district. The canal is the western border of the Suan Phrik Sub-district and the eastern border of the Lum Phli and Khlong Sra Bua sub-districts. The old Lopburi River bed ran from Wat Khao Din (Wat Wora Nayok Rangsan) in Bang Pahan District towards the city of Ayutthaya and is now divided into four stretches Khlong Ban Muang from Wat Muang until Wat Dao Khanong in Bang Pahan District Khlong Bang Khuat (a short-cut canal in the Lopburi River loop) from Wat Dao Khanong to (south of) Wat Klang Raman in Ayutthaya City District Khlong Hua Ro from (north of) Wat Pom Raman to Hua Ro in Ayutthaya City District.


[1] Interview with locals on 27 April 2011 at the "Tile Village".

[2] Rachathanin, Phraya Boran. Athibai Phaenthi Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya kap khamwinitjai khong Phraya Boran Racha Thanin. Explanation of the map of the Capital of Ayutthaya with a ruling of Phraya Boran Rachathanin - Revised 2nd edition and Geography of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Ton Chabab print office. Nonthaburi (2007).