WAT PHO NGAM





Wat Pho Ngam, or the Monastery of the Beautiful Bodhi Tree, was located on Ayutthaya's city island in the eastern part of the city in the Ho Rattanachai Sub-district in a locality called Bang Ian (1).


The monastery was between Khlong Na Mueang (2) and Khlong Makham Riang (3). Wat Jan stood northeast (defunct) and Wat Khok Dokmai (defunct) southwest. The temple was located in a swampy area.


There are no traces anymore visible of the monastery above ground level.


Historical data about the monastery and its construction are unknown.


The site shows on a 19th-century map of an unknown surveyor. Wat Pho Ngam stood between Khlong Makham Riang and Khlong Na Mueang, but closer to the latter. Wat Jan stood north and Wat Pa Thon south. Wat Pho Ngam was more or less aligned with these two temples. The map indicates the presence of a chedi.


Phraya Boran Rachathanin indicates a spot northeast of Wat Khok Dokmai on his map drawn in 1926 CE, which was not yet excavated at that time. This place could have been the location of Wat Pho Ngam. 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.


Wat Pho Ngam should have been located in approximative geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 26.35" N, 100° 34' 44.15" E.


Footnotes:


(1) Bang Ian was in the Ayutthaya era, a hamlet situated across the city walls on the banks of the Front City Canal, an old defence moat later enlarged wherein the Lopburi River deviated at the end of the 16th century. The hamlet was more or less situated between Pa Than Road (renamed Naresuan Road) and Pa Thon Road, as we can see on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map of 1926 CE. In between these two roads, there is now Bang Ian Road referring to the hamlet. Because the hamlet's name starts with 'Bang', it was located along a waterway and referred to a fish (eel), as other hamlets in the area do such as Ban Pla Het, Ban Pla Mo, etc.

(2) Khlong Na Mueang or Khu Khue Na (Front Moat) ran east of the city of Ayutthaya. The former moat is said to have been dug in the reign of King Ramathibodhi I, also called King U-Thong. It was initially a defensive moat or could have been a separation ditch (borderline) between the ancient city of Ayodhya situated in the oxbow of the Pa Sak River and the new established city of Ayutthaya in the oxbow of the Lopburi River. The Royal Palace stood on the premises of the present ruins of Wat Phra Si Sanphet, and the earthen walls surrounding the city were likely not further than the moat, which became later known as Khlong Pratu Khao Pluak.

(3) 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.