Wat Mai Chai Wichit, or the New Monastery of Chai Wichit, is situated in the northern area of Ayutthaya’s city island in the Tha Wasukri Sub-district. It is located south of Khlong Mueang (1) and was constructed just outside the old Grand Palace area.

The temple was built during the reign of King Rama III (Phra Nangklao, 1824-1851 CE), but there is no record of its construction. The monastery is somehow related to the Governor-General of Monthon Krung Kao (Ayutthaya area called before) with the title Phraya Chai Wichit (2). The detailed history is not known. Some sources state the Governor built it on his property after he moved out to another location in the vicinity of Wat Suwan Dararam Adjacent to the temple, there is indeed some strange, indefinite brick construction. Other sources say that the temple was built by relatives of Phraya Chai Wichit after his death and had the function of a commemoration monument, hence its name.

The temple is built on an ancient road running parallel to the old palace wall, called "Thanon Pratu Din" or the "Road of the Earth Gate". The brick road led to the Pak Tho Fortress at the mouth of Khlong Tho (3) and the boat landing used by the former Ayutthayan Kings, called Tha Wasukri (4). [1]

In situ are an ordination hall (Th: ubosot) and a chedi standing on a circular base. The structures are aligned on an east-west axis but face west, a direction representing death and the setting sun.

Chinese art was trendy during the reign of Rama III, and many vihara and ubosot were constructed in imitation of Chinese buildings without Thai-style roofing decorations. The roof structure was composed of brickwork instead of wooden structures, as is here the case. [3]

The gables are not decorated. The monastic structures during the early Rattanakosin period (1782-1851 CE) followed the late Ayutthaya style (1629-1767 CE). We have here an ubosot with a three-tiered roof surrounded by a porch or veranda indicative of this period. In the late Ayutthaya period, the base of the buildings was curved, although this curved line disappeared in the later Rattanakosin architecture. The ordination hall has five windows on each side and two doors in the front and the rear of each side. The ubosot is built on a platform that can be accessed by two staircases on each side, back and front.

The chedi, constructed on a round base, has one staircase on the northern side leading to the platform where the dome or anda rests. The square anda has three rabbets on the four corners, a popular construction in the early Ratanakosin period. This type of stupa is called a twelve rabbet-angled chedi.

The outer wall has three low entrances on the north, west and south sides and is partly built on top of the old palace ramparts.

Wat Mai Chai Wichit is in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 37.47" N, 100° 33' 26.91" E.


(1) Khlong Mueang or the City Canal is a stretch of the old Lopburi River on the northern side of Ayutthaya's city island. Many people believe it is a manufactured canal. The Lopburi River descending from the north, ran in the Ayutthaya period around the city and joined the Chao Phraya River near Bang Sai (below Bang Pa-In). Khlong Mueang is a remnant from that time. Today, the canal starts at Hua Ro and has its exit at the confluence with the Chao Phraya River near Hua Laem.
(2) His full title was Phraya Chai Wichit Sitthi Satra Maha Prathetrat Surachat Senabodi. The first name was "Phuak". At that time, last names were not in vigour. (3) Pak Tho Fortress is also called Pom Thai Sanam (The Fort at the Rear of the Garden).
(4) Tha Wasukri was a landing adjacent to and to the east of Tha Khoi (literally "Waiting Landing", also called Tha Khan) at the northeastern corner of the Grand Palace. It was the jetty for the king and had a permanent corridor (Th. chanuan) to screen royal ladies from public view. [2]


[1] Fine Arts Department (2003). Ayutthaya Historical Park. p.86-7 (Th.).
[2] Baker, Chris Phongpaichit, Pasuk (2012). The Tale of Khun Chang Khun Phaen: Siam’s Great Folk Epic of Love and War - The presentation of Soi Thong and Soi Fa.
[3] Intralib, Sontiwan (1991). An outline of the History of Religious Architecture in Thailand. Third Edition December 1991. Faculty of Archaeology, Silpakorn University. p.41.