WAT MONGKUT





Wat Mongkut, or the Monastery of the Crown, was situated off the city island in the northern area of Ayutthaya, in the Khlong Sra Bua Sub-district. The temple was located in Thung Kaeo (1).


Wat Mongkut stood west of Wat Phrao, south of Wat Tamnak and 400 metres north of Wat Mae Nang Plum.

In the vicinity of Wat Phrao, and thus not far from Wat Mongkut, was a village where Brahman (likely Indians) and Thai make fragrant powder and oil, krajae scented water (2), krajae incense sticks, kradat incense sticks (3), and perfumes for sale. [1]


The date of establishment and the history of Wat Mongkut are unknown.


In situ is a medium-sized twenty-rabbeted-angled chedi common in the late Ayutthaya period (1733-1767 CE). There are niches in the relic chamber. In some sections, the decorative stucco is still well-preserved. No remains of an ordination hall, a vihara or outer walls were seen. The ruin is presently obscured by trees and other vegetative growth and tucked away between several houses.


Wat Mongkut does not show on Praya Boran Rachathanin’s 1926 CE map. The monastery was mentioned for the first time on a 1993 CE Fine Arts Department map.


The temple ruins are in geographical coordinates: 14° 22' 17.67" N, 100° 34' 3.54" E.


Footnotes:


(1) Thung Kaeo, or Crystal Field, is an area north of the city of Ayutthaya bordered on the west and north by Khlong Sra Bua, on the east by Khlong Hua Ro, and on the south by Khlong Mueang.

(2) Krachae (กระแจะ) or Thanaka Tree is a semi-shrub of a small to medium-sized evergreen perennial. The tree's height is about 8-15 meters. The trunk is straight, branching low the branches are perpendicular to the trunk. The wood is white. The bark is brown the surface is rough. Its scientific name is Hesperethusa crenulata (Roxb.) M. Roem., belongs to the citrus family Rutaceae. The wood and bark were steeped to produce a fragrant water applied to the skin. The term is also used for more complex skin preparations made by dissolving a powder containing krajae, sandalwood paste, musk, and saffron. The Burmese use Thanaka paste for skin protection.

(3) Alocasia macrorrhizos (กระดาด), commonly called giant taro or upright elephant ears, is a rhizomatous tropical perennial of the arum family that is treasured both for its giant ornamentally decorative leaves, which resemble the ears of an elephant and its edible rhizomes which have been cultivated for many years in the tropics as an edible vegetable under the common name of taro. [Source: missouribotanicalgarden.org]





References:


[1] 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.