Wat Lokaya Sutha is a restored temple ruin situated within the Ayutthaya Historical Park west of Bueng Phra Ram in the Pratu Chai Sub-district.

The ruin is south of Wat Worachettharam, while in the other directions, there are only build-up areas. The temple is part of a cluster of three restored temple ruins, Wat Rakhang and Wat Worachettharam.

We can access the cluster via Khlong Tho Road and a stretch called earlier Na Rong Mai Road, the latter referring to a wood factory on the premises of today’s Wat Worapho. A small road leads to it, starting at the Grand Palace's southwest corner, passing Wat Rakhang and Wat Worachettharam to lead to the reclining Buddha of Wat Lokaya Sutha. Field Marshal Plaek Phibun Songkhram ordered the construction of this road in 1949. Another easy access via U-Thong Road, Soi 30, next to Wat Tuek, also leads to Wat Lokaya Sutha.

Wat Lokaya Sutha as Wat Maha That, Wat Phra Ram, Wat Phutthaisawan and Wat Racha Burana follow the Khmer concept of temple construction. All are Temple Mountains, consisting of a central tower and surrounded by a courtyard and a roofed gallery. A row of Buddha images lined the gallery.

In a booklet about Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom, the section of “Phraya Kong Phraya Phan” mentions that around the year 955 in the Year of the Cock, Sri Nanchai built Wat Lokaya Sutha. Whether we have to interpret the 955 Buddhist Era (BE) or Chula Sakarat (CS) is unclear. If around 955 BE, it means the temple’s construction dates back to 412 CE, which is impossible. If around 955 CS, it brings us to the year 1597 CE in King Naresuan's reign (1590-1605 CE), which would be more plausible. The exact year of construction is unknown. [1]

Wat Lokaya Sutha lay likely deserted since the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767. The Fine Arts Department and the Alcoholic Beverages Factory, located in the same neighbourhood, joined hands in 1954 to maintain the area and search for the temple foundations in the massive brick mound.

Wat Lokaya Sutha has a typical east/west alignment. The Fine Arts Department restored heavily nearly all the ruins on Ayutthaya’s city island and also this monastery. Construction companies, under the watchful eye of archaeologists, reconstructed the foundations of walls, floors and pillars.

The entrance of the complex is in the east. We find here the foundations of a large vihara with back and front porticos. To the left and right are two other vihara foundations nearly the same size.

The main vihara's back portico penetrated the square gallery, typical for the Ayutthaya period. The square gallery was 67.5 metres on each side. Today, we can only observe the brick foundations.

Inside the gallery stood the ordination hall or ubosot and the main prang. The prang stood east of the ubosot and west of the main vihara. The ordination hall is 33 x 17 metres, but only the foundations remain.

The main prang, representing the cosmic Mount Meru, was 30 metres high and located in the middle of the sanctuary, imitating the centre of the universe. There were porches in the four cardinal directions, but only the porch located in the east led to the "cella" or small central hall inside the prang by climbing some stairs. The "cella" housed a Buddha image at earlier times.

Outside the gallery to the rear of the monastery stood a vihara with a reclining Buddha. Only the foundations of the vihara are visible as the structure collapsed in earlier times. Twenty-four octagonal brick pillars supported the roof.

The reclining Buddha is 42 meters in length and 8 meters high with the head to the north, face looking to the west and feet to the south. West was considered inauspicious and represented death, impurity, and the setting sun, hence maybe the positioning of this reclining Buddha facing west. The image has a long face. The arm supporting the head is vertical instead of being folded as in the early Ayutthaya and U-Thong periods, as can be seen at Wat Phutthaisawan and the reclining Buddha at the old town of Sing Buri known as Phra Non Chaksi. The vertical arm is a characteristic of reclining images made in the Middle Ayutthaya Period (1488 - 1629 CE).” [2] Restoration of the reclining Buddha image occurred in 1956 during the term of Field Marshall Phibun Songkhram. [3]

A large bell tower stands in the southwestern part of the monastery premises.
From the initial three chedis (as seen on the ground plan), two small chedis in the Late Ayutthaya Period style still stand along the eastern outer wall (foundations visible). From the large chedi south of the two remaining chedis remains only a portion of the spire.

Northwest of the reclining Buddha image stands an intriguing chedi with Lan Na characteristics. The chedi stands on a redented brick base and has an almost prang-like shape. The lower niches featured standing Buddha images, while the upper had sitting Buddha images. Some of the stuccoes seem to be well preserved.

Kaempfer’s map

Kaempfer's sketch and draft map show Wat Lokaya Sutha. The temple access was possible by water as by land—a short canal running towards the sanctuary diverted from the Khlong Chang Maha Chai. The latter branched off to the west from Khlong Pak Tho Canal through the Chang Maha Chai watergate near Wat Suan Luang Sopsawan. The short canal ended up in a kind of impoundment south of the sanctuary. The short canal ran under the bridge on the road, longing the northern bank of Khlong Chang Maha Chai. Kaempfer's drawing of the temple shows three spires. To the east, he draws another spire. [4]

On the east side of Wat Lokaya Sutha runs a small canal called Thang Hua Phai Canal in the old documents, but this watercourse is absent from Kaempfer's sketch. In that area, the German doctor working for the Dutch United East-India Company draws a pond or marsh. South of this marsh on the other side of the Khlong Chang Maha Chai, he draws what looks like a stretch of water, maybe a part of the Thang Hua Phai Canal. There seems to be a small bridge over this watercourse on Kaempfer's draft map.

Kaempfer draws more temples opposite Wat Lokaya Sutha, on the other bank of Khlong Chang Maha Chai, on his draft map. A temple seemingly surrounded by a wall stands on the south side of a bridge over Khlong Chang Maha Chai. This temple sits more or less in the location of Wat Monthian today.

A 19th-century map shows Wat Lokaya Sutha and indicates the prang's existence. Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map (PBR), drafted in 1926 CE, shows the sanctuary in the same position. On the mid-19th century map (วัดโลกย์สุธา) (1) and the PBR map (วัดโลกสุธา), the temple is called Wat Lok Sutha, translated as the “Monastery of the Celestial World”. At present, the ruin is called Wat Lokaya Sutha (วัดโลกยสุธา). Where this present name derivation comes from is not known to the author.

Despite its massive size and prime location, there isn’t much known about the history of Wat Lokaya Sutha.

The ruin of Wat Lokaya Sutha is in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 20.19" N, 100° 33' 10.97" E.


(1) โลก = world สุธา = celestial สุธรรม = Good Dharma.


[1] Krom Sinlapakorn (1968), Phra Rachawang lae Wat Boran nai Jangwat Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya (Fine Arts Department).

[2] Amatyakul, Tri (1957). Guide to Ayudhya and Bang-Pa-In. Prachandra Press, Bangkok.

[3] Kasetsiri, Charnvit & Wright, Michael (2007). Discovering Ayutthaya.Toyota Thailand Foundation.

[4] 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.


Reference: Krom Sinlapakorn (1968), Phra Rachawang lae Wat Boran nai Jangwat Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya (Fine Arts Department).

No. 1: The reclining Buddha image, dating back to the Ayutthaya period, sits in front of the temple and is built of brick-and-mortar. The image was 42 meters long, 8 meters high, with lotus flowers supporting the Buddha's head. Fingers and feet were of the same length. The government repaired to the damaged parts in 1956 CE and plastered them in a yellowish colour. In the centre of the front, there is a masonry base for offerings, 1.39 meters long and 84.50 meters wide. Twenty-four octagonal brick pillars remained with a vihara covering the Buddha image. But after the vihara crumbled, there remained a large carved stone reclining Buddha in the Polonnaruwa style of Sri Lanka, dating back to the same era of the Sukhothai Kingdom (1238 - 1438 CE).

No. 2: The outer brick wall is gone, but its foundations remain. The wall had a length of 120.90 meters and a width of 71.10 meters.

No. 3: Only the foundation of the gallery remains. The gallery was 67.50 meters long and 6.30 meters wide.

No. 4: A angulated chedi built in brick and plastered, located on the four corners of the Ubosot. The chedis had a circumference of 7.20 m and a height of 6 m.

No. 5: Bai Sema or boundary stones made of slate, all broken and damaged.

No. 6: The ordination hall is 33 meters long and 14.70 meters wide. Only the foundations are left. A porch protrudes in the front and back.

No. 7: The main prang stood behind the ordination hall and consisted of bricks and cement. The Khmer stupa is about 30 meters high but is damaged and leaned slightly to the north. The hall is 14.10 meters long and 11.40 metres wide.

No. 8: A vihara located on the north side of the main vihara with a length of 36.30 meters and a width of 14.50 metres. Only the foundations of the building are left.

No. 9: The main vihara standing in the middle is 49.50 meters long and 20.10 meters wide. Only the foundations of the building and the base of the main Buddha image are left.

No. 10: A vihara located on the south side of the main vihara with a length of 35.40 metres and a width of 13.20 metres. Only the foundations of the building are left, and the Buddha image is damaged.

No. 11: A damaged rectangular chedi situated slightly away from the outer wall. It is a square pagoda standing in a row of 3 chedis with a circumference of 8.70 meters.

No. 12: A damaged large chedi built with brick-and-mortar and situated south of the three small chedis.

No. 13: A damaged chedi situated northwest of the reclining Buddha image is 3.30 meters wide.

No. 14: Slightly damaged brick-and-mortar bell tower in Ayutthaya style about 15 meters away from the reclining Buddha image. No bell present. To the south was a Thai commemoration inscription on a marble stone dedicated to "Luang Bannakorn Ratchataphan" (Tian Unananon),” the Director of the Liquor Factory.