WAT NGIO





Wat Ngio, or the Monastery of the Cotton Tree, was located off the city island in the northern area of Ayutthaya, in the Khlong Sra Bua Sub-district, Moo 6.

The site can be accessed via the road running parallel to Khlong Hua Ro. Wat Ngio stood on the west bank of the old Lopburi River, a bit further north of Wat Khruttharam, on the opposite side of the road in an area called Thung Kaeo (1).

The temple was just south of the confluence of Khlong Sra Bua and the old Lopburi River. Traces remaining are some scattered bricks. Villagers are presently living on the premises of the former temple.

Its historical background and period of construction are unknown.

The monastery is indicated on 1974, and 1993 CE Fine Arts Department (FAD) maps. This temple could also have been known under the name of Wat Thorani. My reasoning for this is based on the following points:

-In the "Geographical description of Ayutthaya: Documents from the palace", we find the following text: บ้านริมวัดธรณีเลื่อยกระดานไม้งิ้วไม้อุโลกขาย translated as "The village next to Wat Thorani sold sawn cotton and bridal couch tree timbers". (2) [1]

-Thung Kaeo is bordered on the west and north by Khlong Sra Bua, on the east by Khlong Hua Ro and the south by Khlong Mueang. Wat Thorani should be located in Thung Kaeo, as it was an element of one of the seven villages named in the text and situated in that specific field (ทุ่ง).

-The text in reference is given in a specific order, and the villages are summed up clockwise. Wat Thorani follows after Wat Khrut today called Wat Khruttharam (3). Wat Phrao follows after Wat Thorani. We can as thus conclude that Wat Thorani should have been situated between Wat Khrut and Wat Phrao. Wat Ngio does.

-The sawing of timber is a local economic activity. Often a temple is named (or renamed) after a specific activity in its immediate area. It may be a bit far sought, but the monastery could have been called after the timber sold in that area, i.e. wood of the cotton tree. (4)

Wat Ngio was in geographical coordinates: 14° 22' 45.18" N, 100° 33' 29.35" 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) ต้นงิ้ว: Cotton tree or Bombax ceiba (kapok) / ต้นอุโลก: Hymenodictyon orixense or Bridal couch tree.

(3) In Sanskrit, the suffix "tharam" (Th: ธาราม) is used for the comparative degree or often having also a merely intensive value. [2]

(4) It was unlucky to grow the red silk cotton tree in the house compound. This type of tree has soft wood of no economic value. In former days large cotton trees were utilised as coffins because of the soft wood that could be dug out easily. [3]


References:


[1] Pongsripian, Vinai, Dr. (2007). Phanna phumisathan Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya: Ekasan jak Ho Luang. Geographical description of Ayutthaya: Documents from the palace. Bangkok: Usakane. p. 87.

[2] Whitney, William Dwight (1975). Sanskrit grammar: including both the classical language, and the older dialects, of Veda and Brahmana. Harvard University Press.

[3] Phya Anuman Rajadhon - Some Siamese Superstitions about trees and plants. JSS Vol 49.1, 1961. p. 60.