Wat Krabue, or the Monastery of the Buffalo, was located on Ayutthaya’s city island in the city's eastern area in Ho Rattana Chai Sub-district. The temple was situated north of Wat Suwan Dararam and east of Khlong Makham Riang (1). Wat Kho and Wat Krabue lay just opposite each other while Wat Ho Rakhang was northwest.

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 Ko Kaeo (2) 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 attacked as no natural 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. The troops of Prince Thammaracha of Phitsanulok and the Burmese Uparat (second to the King of Hongsa) advanced over Kaeo Island towards the city.

The Siamese army was routed again in front of Krabue Monastery and withdrew to regroup near Phao Khao Monastery. Phra Maha Thep’s forces were so scattered that the Siamese could not reform their defence lines, and the Burmese could enter the city, leading to the first fall of Ayutthaya. The event occurred on 30 August 1569 CE.

"The King of Hongsawadi, being so informed, designated all the high ranking 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 Kaeo Island causeway, and the King of Ava and the King of Prae 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]

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

The exact date of its construction is not known.

Wat Krabue on the maps:

The temple may show on Kaempfer’s sketch. Engelbert Kaempfer was a medical doctor working for the Dutch VOC (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) who surveyed the city of Ayutthaya in June 1690 CE. The monastery stood north of what I presume could have been Wat Thong, later renamed Wat Suwandararam. On his sketch, there is a path running north-south on which Kaempfer noted: ‘per campum semita S+O’ (through a landscape path South and East). There is a detail, unfortunately not sharp, situated east of the path above Wat Thong, which could be an indication of Wat Krabue.

Based on a map of the 19th century drafted by an unknown surveyor, the monastery was situated along the east bank of Khlong Pratu Jin and north of the road running over the Pratu Talat Jin Bridge. On the opposite side stood the defunct Wat Mai, while on its east side was the also defunct Wat Noi Nang Hong. To the north stood Wat Khun Khon Jai, presently called Wat Khun Mueang Jai, a still existing restored ruin. The map indicates the existence of a chedi. The location of this monastery is about 900 metres west of the place where Phraya Boran Rachathanin (PBR) shows two monasteries: Wat Krabue and Wat Kho. I have to add that on the 19th-century map is a monastery named Wat Wua which stands close to the position of PBR’s two monasteries. Wat Wua and Wat Kho translate both as the ‘Monastery of the Cow’. I deduct thus that Wat Wua on the oldest map is likely Wat Kho on PBR’s map. (3)

I believe the location of Wat Krabue on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926 CE is plausible as it supports the events in the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya mentioned above. His map indicates that a brick road ran between Wat Kho and Wat Krabue. This brick road at a later stage in the 20th century became part of Rojana Road. I believe the remnants of Wat Kho/Wat Wua must be buried under the same road.

The position of Wat Krabue on the 19th-century map shows the monastery south of Wat Khun Mueang Jai. On PBR’s map, we find in that location the structures Wat Tha Jin, Wat Khanom Jin and Wat Cho Ae. I believe these structures are now buried under the Rojana Road. At the same time, Wat Krabue on the mid-19th century map must have been situated south of them, approximately in geographical coordinates 14° 20' 58.95" N, 100° 34' 13.18" E (Kaempfer’s sketch indicates an unreadable detail and a bridge).

The 2007 GIS Fine Arts Department map don’t show Wat Krabue.

Assessing all the monastic structures in the zone demarcated by Chikun Road, Pa Thon Road, Pridi Banomyong Road and U-Thong Road is rather complex, as the position and name of the structures vary on different maps. On a 19th-century map, there are 15 structures counted, while on the 20th-century PBR map, there are 13 mentioned. There is inconsistency in the names and the positions. Even maps drafted by the Fine Arts Department, what I presume, based on excavations in the zone, shed no light on this matter. The positions of monastic structures can be asserted, but their ancient names will remain questioned forever.

From the old texts, we can deduct that Wat Krabue was situated near the Field Quarter Road and adjacent to Wat Kho, 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. He 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 animal's fate. [2]

Wat Krabue was approximately in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 2.25" N, 100° 34' 44.55" E.


(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. 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.
(2) Ko Kaeo, or Crystal Island, mentioned in the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya, is east of the Ayutthaya city Island opposite Hua Laem. The so-called island is defined in the north by the (Pak) Khao San Canal (old Pa Sak River), in the east and south by the Khanom Tan Canal, and in the west the Suan Phlu Canal. The stretch between the present mouth of the Khao San Canal and the origin of the Suan Phlu was initially a part of the Khao San Canal. An old monastery situated in this area is Wat Ko Kaeo.
(3) Wat Kho in the Description of Ayutthaya (Athibai phaen thi Phra Nakhon si Ayutthaya) is called Wat Ua. The Description of Ayutthaya was a manuscript discovered in the legacy of Prince Naret Worarit, the seventeenth son of King Mongkut, to the Wachirayan Library in 1925 CE. Prince Damrong authored the manuscript to the early Bangkok period. [3]
[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. p.64.[3] Baker, Chris (2011). Note On Testimonies And Description Of Ayutthaya. Journal of the Siam Society. Vol. 99.