WAT NA PHRA MEN





Wat Na Phra Men, or the Monastery in Front of the Funeral Pyre, sometimes called Wat Na Phra Meru, is located off the city island in the northern area of Ayutthaya in the Tha Wasukri Sub-district. The temple is situated along Khlong Sra Bua (1) and the north bank of the Khlong Mueang (2), just opposite the ancient Grand Palace. It was registered as a National Historic Site with the Fine Arts Department on 25 February 1935 CE.


In front of Wat Na Phra Men and opposite the Grand Palace grounds was a cremation ground - hence the temple's name - used for the high ranked. Simon de La Loubère, the French Envoy to Siam in 1687-8 CE, wrote that the king lighted a torch along a rope to fire the funeral pyre from his palace. The king was at that time King Narai (reign 1656-1688 CE). The palace building could only have been the Suriya Amarindra Maha Prasat (3), situated opposite the cremation ground.


"If it is the Body of a Prince of the Blood, or of a Lord whom the King has loved, the King himself sets fire to the Pile, without stirring out of his Palace. He lets go a lighted Torch along a Rope, which is extended from one of the Windows of the Palace to the Pile." [1]





History


The temple was constructed during the reign of King Ramathibodi II (1491-1529 CE), the 10th king of the Ayutthaya Suphannaphum/Suphanburi dynasty, in 865 CS (1503 CE) by Phra Indra and received the name Wat Phra Meru Rachikaram. Wat Na Phra Men occupied a prominent place in front of the Royal Palace. As its name indicates, it was established near a cremation area. [2]


King Chakkraphat (reign 1548-1569 CE) captured a lot of white elephants during his reign, and this news crossed the borders quickly. The King of Burma requested again to obtain two animals. Siam turned down the request. In 1563 CE (4), the King of Burma, Bayinnaung (reign 1551-1581), came down with a large army to enforce his request. He captured all the cities in the north and descended on Ayutthaya. King Chakkraphat saw that the Burmese army largely outnumbered him and decided to resolve the issue through discussions. He ordered to erect a royal building with two thrones, equal in height, between the Phra Meru Rachikaram Monastery and the Hatsadawat Monastery. Then he had a jewelled-adorned throne prepared higher than the royal thrones and had a Buddha image to preside over the meeting. The terms imposed by the King of Burma were onerous. Prince Ramesuen, Phraya Chakri and Phraya Sunthorn Songkhram, the leaders of the war party, were to be delivered up as hostages, an annual tribute of thirty elephants and three hundred catties of silver was to be sent to Burma, and the Burmese were to be granted the right to collect and retain the customs duties of the port of Mergui - then the chief emporium of foreign trade. In addition, four white elephants were to be handed over instead of the two initially demanded. King Chakkraphat had no choice but to deliver up to keep a truce. All Siamese prisoners were released, and the Burmese army returned.


"When King Maha Cakkraphat was informed of the contents of the royal letter, he made his decision, “This time their army is exceptionally enormous and it appears to be beyond the capacity of our soldiers to save the Capital. If we do not go out, the monks, Brahmans, inhabitants, citizens and populace will all be faced with perdition and destruction, and even the Holy Religion will be disgraced. We shall have to go out. Even if the King of Hongsawadi does not constantly abide by his promises, as in the royal letter which has arrived, we will see to it that our promises are firmly upheld.” Having so decided, he had a royal letter prepared to specify where he would proceed to and had an embassy carry it out to present to the King of Hongsawadi. Then he ordered officials to go out to erect a royal building with two royal thrones, equal in height and spaced four sòk apart, in the area between Phra Meru Rachikaram Monastery and Hatsadawat Monastery. Then he had a jeweled throne prepared higher than the royal thrones, and had the Holy and Glorious Triple Gems escorted out to preside over the meeting." [3]





In 1670 CE, the year following the first fall of Ayutthaya, Cambodia invaded Siam and camped at the northern side of Ayutthaya. The King of Cambodia thought after the war with the Burmese to find a defenceless, easy-to-capture city, and took the opportunity to settle old scores. His thinking proved wrong as the Siamese capital offered fierce resistance and the Cambodian forces had to retreat with heavy losses.


"The King of Lawaek advanced with his army and halted his elephant in Sam Phihan Monastery. And the enemy troops were posted at intervals to Rong Khòng Monastery and Kuti Thòng Monastery. Then they brought about thirty elephants and halted them in Phra Meru Rachikaram Monastery with about four thousand men." [3]


In 1760 CE, the Burmese King Alaungpaya (reign 1752-1760 CE) invaded Ayutthaya. On the first day of the waxing moon of the sixth month in the morning of 1760 CE, the Burmese positioned their guns again at Wat Na Phra Men (translated by Cushman as the Monastery in Front of the Holy Funeral Monuments) and at the Monastery of the Elephant Landing. They started firing on the Grand Palace during the day and the night and were even able to hit and destroy the spire of the palace. The next day, the Burmese withdrew north to Ava, along the Chao Phraya River. The king of Burma died before reaching the border at Mokalok in Tak province.


Following some versions of the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya (RCA), the Burmese King Alaungpaya became ill. However, following the Royal Autograph version, he was wounded by an explosion of a large gun. He returned to his stockade and decided to abandon the campaign. I found, although nowhere mentioned in any of the RCA versions, that the gun burst occurred at Wat Na Phra Men.


"When it was evening, the Burmese gave up on the campaign and crossed over the river to the banks on the side of the Monastery of the Gold Mountain. During the morning of the first day of the waxing moon in the sixth month, the Burmese brought their great guns forward, positioned them at the Monastery in Front of the Holy Funeral Monuments, and aimed and fired them in volleys at the Holy Royal Palace Enclosure and at the Holy Throne Hall of the Eternal Ruler of the Sun both during the day and during the night. They hit the spire of the palace and destroyed it.” [4]


There is a record that Wat Na Phra Men was renovated during the reign of King Borommakot (1733-1758 CE). After the Burmese troops sacked Ayutthaya, Wat Na Phra Men was left unattended for over half a century until Phraya Chai Wichit (Phuek), the city mayor in the reign of King Rama III, restored it between 1835 and 1838 CE. The traditional Ayutthayan style was maintained. Phraya Chai Wichit gathered the left-over antiquities, which were scattered around the city, to keep them at this monastery. More renovations took place in 1914 and 1957 CE. [6]





The ordination hall


The ordination hall faces south and measures approximately 50 m by 16 m. The ubosot has front and back porches with elevated balconies of 4m length in the centre that are used to house a standing Buddha image. Kasetsiri and Wright point out this was a door before, probably for the exclusive use by royalty. [1]


The ubosot’s gable is carved wood primed with black lacquer and covered with gold leaf featuring Vishnu (in Thailand called Phra Narai or Narayan) mounted on Garuda, on top of the demon head Rahu (5) placed between two Nagas and flanked by 26 celestial beings (deva – thewada). Each of Vishnu’s four hands is holding his classic items a trident, a discus, a conch and a baton. On top of Vishnu stands a royal-tiered umbrella, and behind his head is an arch-framed halo. The gable of Wat Na Phra Men is considered one of the most beautiful pieces of artistic work from Ayutthaya.


At the southern front entrance, there were three doors before. The large middle door was later blocked, leaving only a high window. On the northern side, there are two small doors. The doors are teak wood (Mai Sak) decorated with lacquered motifs. Over the doors, there are marble slabs with ancient Khmer characters and Thai numbers. Inside the ubosot, there are two rows of eight massive octagonal pillars with lotus-bud capital supporting the wooden roof structure. The wooden beams are beautifully carved, and the ceiling is adorned with wood carvings showing stars and the moon.


The interior walls of the ordination hall were covered with a painting of 80 Buddhist monks with Bhikku (nuns) behind them. The painting was white-washed when the ubosot was restored. The hall walls are windowless but have an opening consisting of a vertical slit to allow some light to enter and to ventilate, called false windows – a decorative style showing a window-like pattern. The incoming sunlight reflecting on the golden Buddha image gives a stunning effect. The use of false windows in Siam existed already in the middle Ayutthaya period but had its roots much earlier, as we can see its use already at Angkor.





The crowned Buddha


The most important Buddha image in the ordination hall was “Phra Buddha Nimit Wichit Maramoli Sri Sanphet Boromtrailokanat”. The crowned image sits in the Subduing Mara posture and measures 6 m high and 4.50m wide across the lap.


The image was cast of metal and covered with gold leaf. The peculiarities of Phra Buddha Nimit Wichit Maramoli are that the image is attired in royal dress complete with crown, earrings, necklace, chest and arm ornament. It presumably dates to the reign of King Prasat Thong, when such Buddha images became popular in the late Ayutthaya Period. [7]


Kasetsiri and Wright state that the Buddha image could refer to Maitreya (6), the Buddha of the future. Another explanation referred to the legend when Lord Buddha dealt with Jambupati. The legend of Jambupati was very popular before in Burma. The records recall the humbling of a boastful king, Jambupati, by the Buddha. The story tells how the Buddha had Jambupati brought before him, having first transformed himself into a mighty king, set in an incomparable palace. Witnessing the Buddha in all his majesty, Jambupati accepts the dharma and becomes a monk. [8]


The statue is the most beautiful and significant crowned Buddha image left following the war with Burma in 1767 CE.





The small vihara


Wihan Noi or Wihan Khian (the Hall of Paintings) was constructed in 1838 CE by the order of Phraya Chai Wichit during the reign of King Rama III to house Phra Kantharat. The hall measures 25 m by 11.50 m and has front and back porches. In front of the vihara, there are two staircases ascending an erased platform from both sides. The roof of the vihara is covered with terra cotta tiles.


The door panels, measuring 2.60 m by 0.60 m, are carved in a bas-relief of birds, animals and deities with intricate flowery flames. It is believed to have been made in the middle Ayutthaya period, as in most of the late Ayutthaya period, door panels were inlaid with mother of pearl and had more refined designs.


The gilded stucco designs at the windows and doors consist of European and Chinese foliate designs, popular during that time, especially the Chinese design of a flower vase and a small altar set.


The inside walls contain faded mural paintings of the King Rama III period, mainly erased by seeping water and no maintenance. The painting covers the entire wall from the floor to the ceiling with no dividing lines. The colour tone was dark, such as dark red or dark green. The stories depicted in the painting were continuous, with lines of trees or roads or building structures to break up the episodes. Following pictures remain to be seen: A painting depicting a king sitting in a pavilion on the water, pointing his finger. In front of him are his servants. The pavilion pillars are carved in the naga form, and many rowing boats carry offerings. The second painting shows a procession with dancers, musicians and soldiers. At the head of the parade, people carry bamboo rockets and three monarchs sitting on elephants, with the last one just departing from the city gate. There are two men gesturing like they are trying to stop the parade while the people in the procession look startled. The third painting shows a long and winding procession taking place at night. The people on the elephant are dressed as commoners. People are holding torches, and a monk carries an alms bowl wrapped in red cloth.





Phra Khantharat
The Buddha image ‘Phra Khantharat’ or ‘Phra Sri Ariamet Trai’ was carved in green stone in the Gupta style. (7)
The Gupta period (4th to 6th century) was when the quintessential Buddha image was created, becoming an iconic form disseminated and copied throughout the Asian Buddhist world. Gupta style stands at a crossroads in art historical developments in the sub-continent. The Gupta style embodies the earlier figurative styles of North and North-West India (Mathura and Gandhara) while achieving a new power and sophistication. It is noted for the full, sensuous modelling of faces and bodies, the subtlety of expression and the harmonious proportions of its figures. During these centuries, the workshops at Sarnath [close to Varanasi, Benares, India], a monastic complex built on the site of the Buddha's first sermon, became especially artistically influential. A particular type of Buddha image was produced here, whose body is covered by a diaphanous robe, which clings to the figure while flaring at the sides. This was to become the prototype for a multitude of later images. [9] For the first time, permanent materials like brick and dressed stone were used to construct temples instead of perishable materials, such as bamboo, wood, etc. Sculpture of the Gupta period presents a characteristically beautiful figure, full of charm and dignity, a graceful pose and a radiant spiritual expression.
The sculpture is believed to be made in the Dvaravati style (Mon), dating from 707 - 757 CE. The image size is 5.20 m high, or three times the average human size. It is the largest figure of a seated Buddha originally displaying the dharmachakra mudra with his feet placed on a lotus pedestal in a western-style manner, legs apart. The story goes that the image was moved from Wat Phra Men in Nakhon Pathom province, where several Buddha images in Dvaravati style have been found, two of which were transferred to Ayutthaya. One statue is at Wat Na Phra Men, and the other is at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum. A nearly similar Buddha statue is found in the interior cella of the Buddhist temple of Candi Mendut in Indonesia.
This Buddha image has several remarkable features, writes Kasetsiri and Wright: The halo around the image's head has tongue flames indicating Chinese influence The short hemline exposing the left knee looks different from those of other images in Thailand, but this is similar to the images of Maitreya created during the Tang dynasty in China Both hands of the image rest on the knees, which is different from the postures known in Thailand, but apparently this was arranged at a later stage.




Wat Na Phra Men is in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 45.70" N, 100° 33' 31.46" E.


Footnotes:


(1) Khlong Sra Bua, or the Lilly Pond Canal, is a canal situated in the northern area off the city island in the Khlong Sra Bua district. The waterway splits from Khlong Hua Ro between Wat Ngiu (defunct) and Wat Si Liam. The canal has its mouth at the City Canal (Khlong Mueang) between Wat Na Phra Men and Wat Mai in front of the northeastern corner of the Grand Palace. The canal was a shortcut in the old Lopburi River.

(2) 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.

(3) The Suriya Amarinthon Maha Prasat Throne Hall was one of the three throne halls of the royal palace and stood on the northern side beside the Lopburi River. It was probably built when King Prasat Thong enlarged the palace in 1636 CE. The hall was constructed of brick and laterite, and the roof was covered with tin tiles. It had a five-level mandapa spire and porticos on all four sides. Its floor was higher than that of any other building in the group. A corner of this floor on the northern side is still standing. The Suriya Amarin had four long wings in the cardinal directions and no portico or connecting corridor. The wing extending out on the northern side was an evening pavilion, likely on a raised level for seeing over the city wall to the river. [Baker, Chris (2013). The Grand Palace in the Description of Ayutthaya: Translation and Commentary. Journal of the Siam Society, Vol 101.]

(4) All the RCA except Luang Prasoet put this event in 1548 CE, but 1563 CE is the generally accepted date for this event. The Burmese stood before Ayutthaya in 1564 CE.

(5) Rahu is mentioned explicitly in a pair of scriptures from the Samyutta Nikaya of the Pali Canon. In the Candima Sutta and the Suriya Sutta, Rahu attacks Chandra, the moon deity and Suriya, the sun deity, before being compelled to release them by reciting a brief stanza conveying their reverence for the Buddha. The Buddha responds by enjoining Rahu to release them, which Rahu does rather than have his "head split into seven pieces". The verses recited by the two celestial deities and the Buddha have since been incorporated into Buddhist liturgy as protective verses (paritta) recited by monks as prayers of protection. [Wikipedia - data retrieved on 11 September 2009]. For the Thais, it is the demon who causes eclipses.

(6) Maitreya (Sanskrit) or Metteyya (Pāli) is the future Buddha of this world. Maitreya is a bodhisattva who, in the Buddhist tradition, is to appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma. According to the scriptures, Maitreya will be a successor of the historic Śākyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Maitreya is typically pictured seated, with either both feet on the ground or crossed at the ankles, on a throne, waiting for his time. He is dressed in the clothes of either a Bhiksu or Indian royalty. Maitreya currently resides in the Tusita (Dusit) Heaven. [Wikipedia - data retrieved on 11 September 2009]

(7) Phra Khantarat is likely linked to Gandhara, an ancient region in present-day northwest Pakistan and parts of northeast Afghanistan and home to the hybrid Greco-Buddhist art.


References:


[1] Loubère, Simon (de la) (1693). A new Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam (2 Tomes). London. Edited by John Villiers. Bangkok: White Lotus, 1986. pp. 123-4). In Part III, chapter XX (Of the Burials of the Chineses and Siameses).

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

[3] Cushman, Richard D. & Wyatt, David K. (2006). The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya. Bangkok: The Siam Society. pp 44-9.

[4] Ibid. p. 77.

[5] Ibid. p. 483.

[6] Saipradist, Aphivan (2005). A critical analysis of heritage interpretation and the development of a guidebook for non-Thai cultural tourists at Ayutthaya World Heritage site.

[7] Ayutthaya, a world heritage (2000). pp. 128-9.

[8] www.aziatischekunst.com - data retrieved 11 September 2009.

[9] www.vam.ac.uk - data retrieved 11 September 2009.



The Ground Plan of Wat Na Phra Men



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





No 1: The wall gate is 4.50 metres wide the wall is made of brick-and-mortar, on the south side, 69 metres wide, and recessed on the southeast side. The north side is 77 metres wide. The long sides are 139 metres and with a small gate in the wall. On the east and north side is a walkway leading to the Sala Kan Parian (1) and the monks' dormitory, 1 metre wide each. The outer wall was damaged and destroyed on almost every side.

No. 2: A mondop or mandapa, made of brick-and-mortar, 5 metres wide and long on each side.

No 3: A Chinese pavilion, made of brick-and-mortar, built in the reign of King Rama III. There are two buildings in front of the mondop, one building, 3.80 metres wide, 4.60 metres long and in front of the ordination hall, one building, 4.50 metres wide and 5.40 metres long.

No 4: A Bodhi tree in front of the ordination hall on the left. The large tree must have been planted when this temple was built.

No 5: The courtyard in front of the ordination hall is 7 metres wide and long on each side there are two stone lions, one broken and one damaged, and four flower pot stands.

No 6: There are two front and two back gates in the outer wall, 1.40 metres wide. The outer wall is rectangular and made of brick-and-mortar with lotus edges, 30 metres wide and 63 metres long. The height is 90 cm, and its thickness is 30 cm.

No. 7: The boundary stones (Bai Sema) stand on a rectangular base made of brick-and-mortar with lion's feet and lotus decoration. The height is 1.80 metres. The slate boundary stones are double, 1.03 metres wide and 1.33 metres high.

No. 8: The stairs leading up to the terrace of the ordination hall. There are stairs in the front and behind, two stairs on each side with a width of two metres. The terrace of the ordination hall is 23 metres wide and 56 metres long.

No. 9: The ordination hall has front and back doors, two doors on each side. Each door is one metre wide and made of teak wood with beautiful water patterns. Above the front door, there is a marble slab inscribed with Khmer characters. In the middle, there are Thai numbers, and there are figures of three stucco bats.

No. 10: The ordination hall was built in 1503 CE and repaired in 1835 and 1957 CE. The ordination hall is 17.50 metres wide and 41.50 metres long, facing south. In front of the ordination hall and the middle, there is a porch 4 metres wide, 6.40 metres long, used to house a standing Buddha image holding an alms bowl. In front of the ordination hall, there are blue ‘chofa’ (b), rooster leaves, swan tails decorated with glass and a gold-plated wand decorated with glass. The teak wood gable is decorated with carvings of Lord Vishnu riding Garuda and stepping on the naga's head, and there are images of Rahu on both sides attached to the naga's head. It is surrounded by 26 ‘Thepphanom’ (angels), of which in the back there are 22 wooden carved images of ‘Thepphanom’, covered with gold, which is very beautiful. Inside the ordination hall, there are two rows of square brick pillars, eight each with a diameter of 1 metre. The 4.20 metre high pillars are decorated with patterns. New repairs, painted the floor green with a yellow rice-wrapped design. The pillar heads are in lotus form in the Ayutthaya style. The ceiling is carved in the shape of gilded stars. On the walls of the former ordination hall, there were paintings, but unfortunately, the people who restored the hall later did not know the value and covered them with white plaster. There were window openings (3) similar to those at Wat Thammikarat, Wat Maha That, Wat Racha Burana and the walls of the ordination hall of Wat Borom Phuttharam. on the island city of Ayutthaya. But because the ordination hall of Wat Na Phra Men is vast, therefore, there are 29 windows on each side, east and west, allowing very little light to enter the interior, making it dark. As His Royal Highness Prince Narisara Nuwattiwong stated that Western art differs from the East and the treatment of sacred images is different. There are white slate stone slabs with a height of 30 cm and a length of 1.30 metres, located next to the pillar near the door at the front of the ordination hall on the left, inscribed with Kapayani (one of the most popular types of Thai poetry) about the repair of this ordination hall.

No. 11: A Buddha image adorned with ornaments on a rectangular brick base with a width of 8.80 metres and a length of 10 metres, and a height of 1.30 metres. The base support one of the largest Buddha images, the main Buddha image facing south in Marawichai posture, Ayutthaya period, gilded, lap width 4.50 metres, height 6 metres.

No. 12: The porch behind the ordination hall has a width of 5 metres and a length of 9 metres. It enshrines a stucco Buddha image in meditation posture from the Ayutthaya period lap width 1.50 metres, height 2.50 metres.

No. 13: A prang, rebuilt in 1835 CE, made of brick-and-mortar, on a rectangular base 9.50 metres long on each side, with stairs in four directions. Antiques and artefacts were brought inside, but in 1939 CE, the stupa was destroyed, and the relics were stolen.

No. 14: A square chedi, 12 metres away from the outer wall of the ordination hall, built of brick-and-mortar on a rectangular base - broken top - probably built in 1835 CE, width and length 3 metres on each side.

No. 15: Bell-shaped chedis on a round base, made of brick-and-mortar and arranged in a row, 4.50 and 5.20 metres in diameter. The tops are broken.

No. 16: White vihara, 13 metres from the outer wall of the ordination hall, probably built together with the ordination hall, made of brick-and-mortar, 12 metres wide and 10 metres long, used to be a place of worship. The standing Buddha image in the posture of giving forgiveness, sandstone, Lop Buri period has been moved to the National Museum. Later, the roof and walls of this temple were damaged. Phrakhru Phutthawihan Sopha (Liang), the abbot, has renovated and used it as a place of meditation. Currently, it houses the ashes of the abbot of this temple.

No. 17: The small vihara 3.50 metres from the outer wall of the ordination hall enshrined an important Buddha image. People call it the Wihan Phra Gandharrat or Wihan Khian and was built in the reign of King Rama III in 1838 CE by Phraya Chai Wichit (Phuek). The vihara faces south and is 11.50 metres wide and 25 metres long. In the front, there is a white stone Shiva lingam, with a height of 1.6 metres and a diameter of 21 cm, on a white stone base of 1.32 metres wide, 1.30 metres long and 16 cm thick. In front of the vihara, there is a porch and stairs leading up to the front on both sides. There are three steps each stair width is 97 cm, height is 1.20 metres. The roof of the vihara is made of clay tiles. Front and back, there are ‘Chofa’ with rooster leaves, swan tails decorated with mirrors and gold-plated wands decorated with stained glass. The gable is a picture of flowers and birds, gilded and decorated with green and blue glass. There is a single door width 1.08 wide and 2.60 metres high. The wooden door is carved with Thepphanom, Garuda, Naga, and birds, gilded with gold, width 60 cm, height 2.60 metres, thickness 12 cm. It is a very beautiful carved wooden door. Above the door is a gilded stucco-patterned arch with glass decoration and an image of a compass arrow inside the vihara. On the walls, there are coloured paintings on all four sides written when this vihara was built. Nowadays, the paintings are faded. There is a window on the east and the west side. Above the windows, there is an arch with Chinese patterns. Inside the vihara is a limestone Buddha image from the Dvaravati period. It was initially in the posture of the first sermon the hands and feet were renovated. The image is facing south. The lap is approximately 1.70 metres wide and 5.20 metres high. According to a white stone inscription on the wall on the east side near the entrance, Phraya Chai Wichit moved the image from Wat Maha That on the island of Ayutthaya and noted it came from Sri Lanka. Still, Luang Boriban Buribhand stated that it did not come from Sri Lanka and probably was moved from the Phra Pathom Chedi area in Nakhon Pathom Province in the reign of Rama V by Prince Damrong Rajanubhab when the latter was the Minister of the Interior as he has dug patterned stone frames surrounding the Buddha images at Wat Phra Men, Nakhon Pathom Province, which could be comparable with the Buddha image at Wat Na Phra Men, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province. So, he knew that it originated from Phra Pathom Chedi. Probably built around 800 C.E. according to the Gupta art, there are five sitting stone Buddha images in the Dvaravati period that have been found in the world, namely:
1. At Mondop Mendut, Java (Indonesia), one statue.
2. The principal Buddha image in the ordination hall of Wat Phra Pathom Chedi, one statue.
3. On the terrace of Phra Pathom Chedi, two damaged Buddha images.
4. At Wat Na Phra Men, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province, one statue.

In 1958 CE, a culprit stole two white stone Buddha heads from the Dvaravati period, in the ordination hall of Wat Phraya Kong, in Samphao Lom Sub-district, Village No. 2, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province. He sold them to merchants in Bangkok, but the Fine Arts Department officials found them, seized the heads and prosecuted the culprits. These two Buddha heads are now kept in the National Museum Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province. There is also a Buddha image enshrined in front of Wat Khun Phrom, on the right bank of the Chao Phraya River, opposite the island of Ayutthaya on the south side in Samphao Lom Sub-district of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province. It is a white stone Buddha image from the Dvaravati period, which was moved to Wat Khun Phrom from Wat Phraya Kong, smaller in size than the Buddha image at Wat Na Phra Men.

No. 18: Hall of Worship 5 metres away from the temple wall, built in 1945 CE at the time of Phrakhru Phutthawihan Sophon (Samruai) and the devotees built and dedicated Kusala Tawai - Phutthawihan Sophon (party), which was initiated before, width 12.50 metres, length 17.51 metres.

No. 19: The monks’ dwellings (kutis) 5 metres away from the temple wall. There are eight kutis for monks and novices.

No. 20: The ‘Tha Nam’ pavilions, located along the Sra Bua Canal, near the monks’ dwellings: 1 pavilion, 4.50 metres wide and 4.50 metres long, and near the front of the chapel 1 pavilion, 3 metres wide and 4 metres long, made of zinc-roofing.

Footnotes:

(1) Sala Kan Parian (Thai: ศาลาการเปรียญ, study hall) is a multipurpose hall in a wat. In the past, this hall was only for monks to study in, as 'Parian' is a Pali word meaning 'educated monk' or 'monk student'.
(2) Chofa is a Thai architectural decorative ornament that adorns the top at the end of temple roof ridges (gable apex), resembling a tall thin bird and looking hornlike, symbolising the mythical bird Garuda.
(3) The walls were windowless, having vertical slit openings, bringing ventilation and providing at the same time a diffused light into the inside.




Limestone standing Buddha in Dvaravati art dating back to the 8th-9th centuries and found at Wat Na Phra Men. The statue, with a height of 173 cm, reflects the characteristics of the Mon people, namely broad faces and noses, full lips and joined eyebrow arches. Dvaravati-style Buddhas are recognisable for their meditative look, imposing size and symmetry of their U-shaped robe. De image is displayed at the National Museum in Bangkok. [Ref: thai-heritage.org/dvaravati - 18 November 2020]