Wat Chedi Yai, or the "Monastery of the Large Chedi", is a restored temple ruin situated in the southwestern area of Ayutthaya's city island in the Pratu Chai Sub-district in a communal area called Somdet Phra Sri Nakharin Park, which is part of the Ayutthaya Historical Park.

The restored chedi is situated west of Wat Ubosot, south-east of the restored temples Wat Sangkha Thae and Wat Sangkha Tha, and north of the now-defunct Wat Kaeo. The ruin is easily seen from the road running parallel with Khlong Chakrai Yai.

Khlong Chakrai Yai is a still existing north-south running canal situated on the Ayutthaya city island. The canal was a shortcut in the oxbow of the old Lopburi River with its beginning at the Pak Tho Watergate opposite Wat Choen Tha and its mouth at the Chakrai Yai Watergate in front of Wat Phutthaisawan. The canal and its watergate were named after the Choeng Chakrai Village outside the city wall in that area. [1]

The site is surrounded by moats on three sides, east, west, and south, and there is no bridge leading directly to it, but it can be accessed on the northern side. In situ is a large bell-shaped chedi built in brick on a rectangular base. Either the chedi likely stood east of an ordination or prayer hall which remnants disappeared over time, or the hall was never built or finalised at all, and the chedi stood on its own.

On Engelbert Kaempfer's initial sketch, but not on his later drafted map, we find a marking, north of Wat Kaeo and east of Wat Jao Phram, which could indicate the position of the Chedi Yai. The markings of Chedi Yai, the Wat Kaeo Bridge, and Wat Kaeo are aligned. Kaempfer wrote in his sketch that he made 280 steps from the Khun Lok Bridge to the Wat Kaeo Bridge (he walked the distance). Calculating 77 cm for an average step, the distance covered by him would be about 215 metres. This distance brings us exactly in front of Wat Chedi Yai. I might conclude that Kaempfer saw the large chedi in June 1690. [2]

Chedi Yai bears the characteristics of the middle Ayutthaya period or second sub-period (1488 - 1629 CE) based on the Sri Lankan (rounded) style of the stupa, but as this style continued in the late Ayutthaya period (1629 - 1767 CE), we can assume it dates back to the last period. [3]

The site is in geographical coordinates: 14° 20' 38.97" N, 100° 33' 14.71" E.


[1] Baker, Chris (2011) - Before Ayutthaya Fell: Economic Life in an Industrious Society - Markets and Production in the City of Ayutthaya before 1767: Translation and Analysis of Part of the Description of Ayutthaya - Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 99.

[2] Kaempfer, Engelbert - Werke 4. Kritische Ausgabe in Einzelbänden. Herausgegeben von Detlef Haberland, Wolfgang Michel, Elisabeth Gössmann - Engelbert Kaempfer in Siam. – Iudicum Verlag GmbH München 2003 - edited by Barend Jan Terwiel.

[3] Intralib, Sontiwan (1991) - An outline of the History of Religious Architecture in Thailand - Third Edition December 1991 - Faculty of Archaeology, Silpakorn University.