WAT KHO





Wat Kho, or the Monastery of the Bull, was located on Ayutthaya's city island in the eastern part of Ho Rattanachai Sub-district. The temple was situated north of Wat Suwan Dararam and east of Khlong Nai Kai (1).

Wat Kho and Wat (Khok) Krabue lay opposite each other, while Wat Ho Rakhang was northwest.

History

The monastery is mentioned in the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya. It was in this area that the Siamese army of Phra Maha Thep retreated and regrouped after their stockade on Crystal Island was overrun by the Burmese in their attack of Ayutthaya in 1569 CE. The principal Burmese effort seems to have occurred in the southeast as the northern, western and southern flanks of the city were protected by the rivers, being a natural barrier. The city's eastern side was easily prone to attack as no real defence line existed. The Pa Sak River did not change its course yet, and a large tract of land - only partially cut by some shallow irrigation canals - lay in front of the city. Prince Thammaracha from Phitsanulok and the Burmese Uparat (second to the King of Hongsa) advanced over Kaeo Island (Crystal Island - the actual location of Wat Ko Kaeo) towards the city. The army of Phra Maha Thep was routed, and he retreated to regroup in the area in front of Kho Monastery and Krabue Monastery. Being routed again and withdrawing to regroup in the vicinity of Phao Khao Monastery, his broken forces were so scattered and repeatedly separated that they could not reform their lines. The enemy thus, was able to enter the city of Ayutthaya on 30 August 1569 CE, leading to its first fall.

The King of Hongsawadi, being so informed, designated all the highranking nobles, military officers and soldiers who were to go in to take the Capital and organized his soldiers into four divisions. One division, dressed in black tunics, was armed with sword and shield another division, dressed in green tunics, was armed with a sword in each hand a third division, dressed in red tunics, was armed with matchlocks the last division, dressed in purple tunics, was armed with spears, tasseled lances, and swords worn suspended from one shoulder down across the chest. Then the King of Hongsawadi ordered Prince Thammaracha and the Uparat to command these troops and lead them in along the Kæo Island causeway, and the King of Ava and the King of Præ to advance from their positions, so that they all advanced along the three causeways at the same time. The officials sent down a rain of flaming arrows, long pointed iron bars, and long sharpened bamboo sticks which hit and killed the Hongsawadi soldiers in great numbers. The enemy troops, however, did not retreat, but unceasingly pressed forward and steadily reinforced each other. The noise of the troops and the din of the guns resounded as though the earth were quaking. And the army of Prince Thammaracha and the Uparat attacked, forced their way into and captured the stockade of Phra Maha Thep. Phra Maha Thep was routed and retreated to regroup in the area in front of Kho Monastery and Krabü Monastery. Being routed again and withdrawing to regroup in the Vicinage of Phao Khao Monastery, his broken forces were so scattered and repeatedly separated that they could not reform their lines and the enemy was able to enter the city. [1]

From the old texts, we can deduct that Wat Kho was situated near Field Quarter Road, where the Wat Ngua Khwai Market was located. Mon, Burmese, and Khaek (meaning Indian or Malay) slaughtered here ducks and chickens for sale in great quantities. When King Borommakot (reign 1733-1758 CE) ascended the throne, he took pity on animals of the world that had to die and commanded the enactment of a law forbidding the slaughter of ducks and chickens for sale by those who believed in Buddhism but allowing non-believers to slaughter according to the fate of the animal. [2]

There are no traces anymore of the former monastery, and I classified it as defunct.

The exact date of its construction is unknown.

Wat Kho on the maps

Wat Kho shows on a 19th-century map by an unknown surveyor under the name Wat Wua. The temple is indicated with a chedi and is situated southwest of Wat Khok Khamin and northeast of Wat Suwan (dararam).

The temple is indicated on Phraya Boran Rachathanin’s map drafted in 1926 CE. His map shows that a brick road ran between Wat Kho and Wat Krabue. This brick road at a later stage in the 20th century became the Rojana Road. Phraya Boran (1871-1936 CE) was the Superintendent Commissioner of Monthon Ayutthaya from 1925 till 1929 CE but occupied important functions since 1896 CE in Monthon Ayutthaya.

The monastery appears one more time on a Fine Arts Department map of 1974 CE, but the site is question marked.
The site must have been approximately in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 3.86" N, 100° 34' 41.73" E.
Footnotes:
(1) Khlong Makham Riang, or the Canal of the aligned Tamarind Trees, was before called Khlong Nai Kai. It is a still existent canal situated east on Ayutthaya's city island. The canal was a shortcut in the oxbow of the old Lopburi River. It has today its origin at Khlong Ho Ratana Chai below Wat Senasanaram and the Front Palace, and its mouth at the present Chao Phraya River, west of Phet Fortress. At the mouth was one of the eleven water gates of Ayutthaya called Pratu Nai Kai. The southern exit, which has today a water regulator, has been altered, as the original mouth of the canal was about 170 metres more south, close to Pom Phet. Khlong Makham Riang is one of the three large canals running north to south, of which two still are in existence.
References:
[1] Cushman, Richard D. & Wyatt, David K. (2006). The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya. Bangkok: The Siam Society. p. 73 / Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat, Phra Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph - Final Hongsawadi Attack and Fall of Ayutthaya, 1569.[2] 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.[3] Rachathanin, Phraya Boran (1929). 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).