Wat Pa Daeng was located off the city island in the northern area of Ayutthaya, in the Khlong Sra Bua Sub-district. The monastery was situated between Khlong Sra Bua (1) and Khlong Pha Lai (2) in an area called Thung Kaeo (3). Wat Khwit stood adjacent in the north, Wat Nom Duan in the east and Wat Kuti Thong in the south.

Wat Pa Daeng was separated from Wat Khwit by a ditch filled by Khlong Pha Lai. There are traces of laterite in situ, which makes it plausible that this monastic structure could date from the early Ayutthaya period (1351-1488 CE).

Written sources of the Fine Arts Department confirm that the temples in the Khlong Sra Bua area - to which Wat Pa Daeng belongs - are from the early Ayutthaya period but, of course, continuously renovated until the late Ayutthaya period (1633-1767 CE).

The meaning of "Pa Daeng", literally translated as "Red Forest", is more or less a guess. The word Pa (ป่า) can be translated as forest but can also mean a locality, a quarter or a market area. On some maps, the monastery is called Wat Pa Taeng (วัดป่าแตง), which in this case could refer to a melon market in the vicinity of the temple.

In the manuscript Testimony of the king from Wat Pradu Songtham, a document likely compiled in the early Rattanakosin period is written that there was a land market on Patterned Cloth Canal beside Wat Pa Daeng behind Wang Phak Jao Lao (Palace accommodation for the Lord of the Lao) [1]

Wat Pa Daeng could also be established by a lineage of monks, which reached Chiangmai during the reign of King Sam Fang Kaen (1401-1441 CE) of Lan Na Thai (Million Rice Fields). This lineage was then led by the monk Medhamkara (or Nanagambhira - sources vary) and accompanied by two Sri Lankan monks. They resided at Wat Pa Daeng in Chiang Mai. By the time of King Tilokaracha (reign 1442-1487 CE), the Pa Daeng monks were appointed to key positions. They received substantial support for establishing monastic centres, including Wat Pa Daeng, which became the lineage's centre for ordination rituals. There were indications of strong royal support for the Pa Daeng lineage, retaining the highest-ranking monastic appointments of the period. [2]

Buddhism was introduced to Chiang Tung (Keng Tung) from Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. The Chronicle of Wat Padaeng (Sao Saimöng Mangrai, 1981) describes in detail the trip of a Tai monk (Nanagambhira) who went to Sri Lanka to establish a new Buddhist order. After his re-consecration in Lanka, he went to Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Chiang Mai and finally to Chiang Tung and established the Wat Padaeng monastery, which is still standing. [3]

The two sources above indicate that Pa Daeng monks came to Ayutthaya, although it is not confirmed as yet that Wat Pa Daeng, north of Ayutthaya, had been established by this sect.

Its historical background and exact period of construction are unknown.

The ruin is indicated on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926 CE and on 1974, 1993 and 2007 Fine Arts Department (FAD) maps. On the last map, its position is not correct.

The ruin is in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 53.07" N, 100° 33' 40.84" E.


(1) Khlong Sra Bua, or the Lilly Pond Canal, is 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 Pha Lai, or the Canal of the Patterned Cloth, was a canal situated off the city island in the northern area running partly in present Tha Wasukri and Khlong Sra Bua sub-districts. The canal is defunct, but there are still some stretches existing from this canal. Most of the waterway, though, has been filled up. Khlong Pha Lai had its mouth west of Wat Mai and ran adjacent to Khlong Sra Bua into the old Lopburi River, a stretch of water called today Khlong Mueang.

(3) 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.


[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. p. 52.

[2] Blackburn, Anne M. (2001). Buddhist Learning and Textual Practice in Eighteenth-Century Lankan Monastic Culture - Princeton University Press.

[3] Karlsson, Klemens (2009). Tai Khun Buddhism and Ethnic-Religious Identity.