WAT PHAO KHAO





Wat Phao Khao, or the Monastery of the Burned Rice, was located on Ayutthaya's city island in the city's eastern area in Ho Rattana Chai Sub-district. The temple was situated north of Wat Suwandararam and east of Khlong Makham Riang. (1). Wat Phao Khao stood just opposite Wat Ho Rakhang at the other side of the canal.
The monastery is mentioned in the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya. It was in this area that the Siamese army of Phra Maha Thep retreated and regrouped after their stockade on Ko Kaeo (2) was overrun by the Burmese in their attack of Ayutthaya in 1569 CE.
The principal Burmese effort seems to have occurred in the southeast as the northern, western and southern flanks of the city were protected by the rivers, being a natural barrier. The city's eastern side was easily attacked as no natural defence line existed. The Pa Sak River did not change its course yet, and a large tract of land - only partially cut by some shallow irrigation canals - lay in front of the city. The troops of Prince Thammaracha of Phitsanulok and the Burmese Uparat (second to the King of Hongsa) advanced over Kaeo Island towards the city.
The Siamese army was routed again in front of Krabue Monastery and withdrew to regroup near Phao Khao Monastery. Phra Maha Thep’s forces were so scattered that the Siamese could not reform their defence lines, and the Burmese could enter the city, leading to the first fall of Ayutthaya. The event occurred on 30 August 1569 CE.
"The King of Hongsawadi, being so informed, designated all the high ranking nobles, military officers and soldiers who were to go in to take the Capital and organized his soldiers into four divisions. One division, dressed in black tunics, was armed with sword and shield another division, dressed in green tunics, was armed with a sword in each hand a third division, dressed in red tunics, was armed with matchlocks the last division, dressed in purple tunics, was armed with spears, tasseled lances, and swords worn suspended from one shoulder down across the chest. Then the King of Hongsawadi ordered Prince Thammaracha and the Uparat to command these troops and lead them in along the Kaeo Island causeway, and the King of Ava and the King of Prae to advance from their positions, so that they all advanced along the three causeways at the same time. The officials sent down a rain of flaming arrows, long pointed iron bars, and long sharpened bamboo sticks which hit and killed the Hongsawadi soldiers in great numbers. The enemy troops, however, did not retreat, but unceasingly pressed forward and steadily reinforced each other. The noise of the troops and the din of the guns resounded as though the earth were quaking. And the army of Prince Thammaracha and the Uparat attacked, forced their way into and captured the stockade of Phra Maha Thep. Phra Maha Thep was routed and retreated to regroup in the area in front of Kho Monastery and Krabü Monastery. Being routed again and withdrawing to regroup in the Vicinage of Phao Khao Monastery, his broken forces were so scattered and repeatedly separated that they could not reform their lines and the enemy was able to enter the city." [1]
There are no traces anymore of the former monastery, and I classified it as defunct.
The exact date of its construction is not known.
Wat Phao Khao on the maps:
The temple is indicated on a map drafted in the 19th century by an unknown surveyor. Wat Kamphaeng was south, Wat Pa Ek northeast and Wat Suwan southeast. Opposite the canal, Wat Kraji stood northwest and Wat Pa Takua southwest. The map shows no existence of a chedi or prang.
Wat Phao Khao shows on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map of 1926 CE. Phraya Boran (1871-1936 CE) was the Superintendent Commissioner of Monthon Ayutthaya from 1925 till 1929 CE but occupied important functions since 1896 CE in Monthon Ayutthaya. The map indicates the temple on the east bank of Khlong Makham Riang. Wat Kho was southeast, Wat Kamphaeng south and Wat Khok Khamin northeast.
Based on a 2007 GIS Fine Arts Department map, Wat Phao Khao was in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 9.27" N, 100° 34' 34.48" E.
Footnotes:
(1) Khlong Makham Riang, or the Canal of the aligned Tamarind Trees, was before called Khlong Nai Kai. It is a still existent canal situated east on Ayutthaya's city island. The canal was a shortcut in the oxbow of the old Lopburi River. It has today its origin at Khlong Ho Ratana Chai below Wat Senasanaram and the Front Palace, and its mouth at the present Chao Phraya River, west of Phet Fortress. At the mouth was one of the eleven water gates of Ayutthaya called Pratu Nai Kai. The southern exit, which has today a water regulator, has been altered. The original mouth of the canal was about 170 metres more south, close to Pom Phet. Khlong Makham Riang is one of the three large canals running north to south, of which two still are in existence.
References:
[1] Cushman, Richard D. & Wyatt, David K. (2006). The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya. Bangkok: The Siam Society. p.73. Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat, Phra Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph. Final Hongsawadi Attack and Fall of Ayutthaya, 1569.