WAT DAWADUNG





Wat Dawadung, or the Monastery of the Heaven of Indra, was located on the city island in the Ayutthaya Historical Park in the Pratu Chai Sub-district. The monastery was situated north of the premises of the Chao Sam Phraya Museum, along Pa Thon Road. The name of the temple is derived from the Traiphum (1).

There are no visual traces of the monastery left at ground level. Wat Phra Ram was north, and Wat Saphan Nak on its east.

Wat Dawadung's historical background and period of construction are unknown.

A 19th-century map shows Wat Dawadung on the west bank of Khlong Pratu Thep Mi (2), south of Wat Pa Nai (defunct) and north of Wat Jingjok (defunct).

This position does not match Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926 CE, which situates Wat Dawadung northeast of Wat Pa Nai and north of the canal connecting Khlong Chakrai Noi with Khlong Pratu Thep Mi thus stands south of old Talaeng Kaeng Road. The same position is found on the Fine Arts Department map of 2007.

The "Master Plan for Tourism Development of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya and the Neighbouring Provinces" mentions that the area of Wat Dawadung was turned into a tennis court. [1]

This tennis court still can be seen on a 2003-2005 digital orthophoto - sheet 51371Vsw. Today the sports installation has been removed to execute the "Master Plan on the Conservation and Development of the Historic City of Ayutthaya" dating from 1993 CE to improve the view of the majestic Wat Phra Ram. This position is found on the Fine Arts Department map of 1993 CE.

The sketch of Engelbert Kaempfer, drafted in June 1690 CE, does not show a temple in both positions above and cannot provide a solution. I favour the position of Wat Dawadung as written in the Master Plan.

The monastery was thus in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 9.66" N, 100° 33' 44.20" E.

Footnotes:

(1) The Traiphum or the "Three Worlds" consists of the Immaterial World, the Fine Material World and the Sensuous World. The latter consists of eleven realms, dominated by the five senses. Four realms are states of deprivation (which include the animal and hell realms - the underworld), one is the world we presently live in (human beings), and six are happy destinations - the dewa heavens. Dawadungsa is the second tier of the dewa heavens, reckoned from the earth. Dawadungsa was located above the peak of Mount Meru (Phra Sumeru), the centre of the universe. In the Dawadungsa Heaven is the palace of Indra (Wechaiyanta), where Indra resides and where the Kalpa trees flourish (Th: Kamaphruk), whose branches furnish everything that the angels can desire. [2](2) Khlong Pratu Thep Mi was situated on Ayutthaya's city island outside the Historical Park in Pratu Chai sub-district. The north-south running canal had its mouth at the old Lopburi River opposite the mouth of Khlong Phraya Phan, leading to Wat Phraya Kong and Wat Phraya Phan. The canal was fed by the waters of Bueng Phra Ram, which in its turn was filled by the waters of the Lopburi River via the Lam Khu Pak Sra. The canal passed the fortified city wall at the Thep Mi Gate, also known as the Khao Semi Gate, a large watergate. The canal was filled up after the fall of Ayutthaya (1767 CE), and only a few traces of the waterway are left today.





References:


[1] Tourism Authority of Thailand. Master Plan for Tourism Development of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya and the Neighbouring Provinces. 6 August 1988.

[2] Alabaster, Henry (1871). The Wheel of The Law. Trubner & Co, London.