Wat Jao Ya, or Grandmother's Monastery, is located off the city island in the northern area, in the Khlong Sra Bua Sub-district. The temple was situated between Khlong Sra Bua (1) and Khlong Pha Lai (2), respectively, on its east and west bank.

The monastery ground was split into two parts by a modern road. Archaeological evidence indicates that Wat Jao Ya already dates from the early Ayutthaya period (1351 - 1491 CE), where the Khmer Prang was the most prominent structure within the temple compound. The monastic structures in situ are from the middle (1491 - 1629 CE) to the late Ayutthaya period (1629 - 1767 CE).

On the east side of the road, we find a vihara with its principal chedi and some satellite chedis. On the west side of the road stands a royal residence, or Tamnak, and a bell tower.

The main chedi was a circular stupa in Singhalese style (bell-shaped) on an elevated platform, identical to the three chedis at Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, dating from the middle Ayutthaya period (Sukhothai influence). The chedi stood west of the vihara, the classical position.

The assembly hall, or vihara, is a rectangular building of 24 meters by 13 meters on a slightly elevated base. The main entrance faces the east, the direction of the rising sun, representing life. There are two entries at the front and the back. Around the hall, except for its west side, was a brick gallery.

Three small stupas stand behind the main chedi. The small chedis on the north and the south of the principal chedi were circular, while the one on the west was a twenty-rabbeted-angled chedi, a popular design starting in King Borommakot's reign (1733 CE).

In the front, east of the vihara, are another number of chedis aligned on a north-south axis. The small chedi on the north and the south were circular bell-shaped (Singhalese style), and the one in the middle was a twelve-rabbeted-angled chedi on the same elevated platform as the small northern chedi.

According to their architecture, the bell-shaped chedis were assumed to be built at the time of construction of the principal chedi the twelve-rabbeted one was built in the Late Ayutthaya period.

The royal residence is a rectangular building of 30 metres by 10 metres with two floors, showing some western influence. There is an elevated porch at the front and the back. The building stands on a foundation that slightly curves over its length, having the form of a Chinese junk, a style typical for late Ayutthaya structures. The two-storey building resembles the royal residential quarters also found at Wat Kudi Dao, Wat Khun Muang Jai and Wat Maheyong. Royals sometimes stayed in this kind of building while overseeing monastery construction and renovation projects.

The bell tower is built in a prang shape. The space for hanging the bell is constructed with twenty-rabbeted angles and has lotus-petal-shaped openings. The spire is a small quincunx with the central prang and four smaller ones in the four cardinal directions, nicely decorated with blue and white ceramic. The bell tower has a balcony with a balustrade and can be reached by a stairway on the eastern side.

The monastery is indicated on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926 CE and is in geographical coordinates: 14° 22' 6.89" N, 100° 33' 34.84" E.


(1) Khlong Sra Bua, or the Lilly Pond Canal, is 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 Pha Lai, or the Canal of the Patterned Cloth, was a canal situated off the city island in the northern area running partly in present Tha Wasukri and Khlong Sra Bua sub-districts. The canal is defunct, but there are still some stretches existing from this canal. Most of the waterway, though, has been filled up. Khlong Pha Lai was a loop of the Sra Bua Canal and had its mouth west of Wat Mai and ran adjacent to Khlong Sra Bua into the old Lopburi River, a stretch of water called today Khlong Mueang.