Wat Pho Phueak, or the Monastery of the White Bodhi Tree, is an active monastery off the city island in the northwestern area of Ayutthaya in the Ban Mai Sub-district. It is situated on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River.

In situ is a relatively new monastic complex with different structures. The ordination hall, or ubosot, is the oldest structure on the premises, built in the late Ayutthaya style (1629 - 1767 CE). The hall stands in the classical east-west alignment and has a two-tiered roof. The ubosot has two porches with two entries each and is surrounded by a wall. Two columns on each porch support the roof. There are four rectangular windows on the northern and southern sides.

On the premises are different modern monastic structures. A commemoration hall is attributed to King Taksin and a kind of mandapa surrounded by four wooden poles coming from the Elephant Kraal (locally called Sao Thalung) to worship Ganesha.

A large Buddha image in meditation posture faces north along the river bank.

Historical data about the monastery and its construction are unknown. In the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya, we read that during the White Elephant War in 1563 CE, during the reign of King Chakkraphat (1548-1569 CE), the King of Hongsawadi (Burma) Bayin Naung set up his main army at Wat Pho Phueak Township on the Pakkhu (mouth of the canal) tax station rice fields as part of an encirclement of Ayutthaya. [1] The temple could thus already be in existence at that time.

"The King of Hongsawadi, having spoken, marched his army down to Ayutthaya on the following day, on Wednesday, the tenth day of the waning moon of the second month, 911, a year of the cock, first of the decade. The army of the Uparat, the vanguard, set up its stockade in Phaniat Township. The stockade of the King of Prae, the left wing, was set up at Thung Wat Photharam Township to Kò Kaeo Canal. The army of the King of Ava, the right wing, set up its stockade at Wat Phutthaisawan Township to Takhian Canal. The army of the Phraya of Tòngu, the army of the Phraya of Cittòng and the army of the Phraya of Lakhoeng, the commissariat, set up their stockade from Ka Ròng Monastery down to Chai Watthanaram Monastery. The army of the Phraya of Bassein and the army of the Phraya of Sariang, the vanguard of the main army, set up their stockade at Lumphli Township. The main army set up its stockade at Wat Pho Phüak Township, on the Pakkhu tax station rice fields. And the army of Prince Maha Thammaracha set up its stockade in Makham Yòng Township behind the royal stockade. The armies, which were set up in a circle around the Capital, in only one day finished making a network of bridges of bamboo slats sewn with rattan across all the rivers, streams and canals so the troops and horses could walk anywhere." [2]

The site is not indicated on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926 CE, as the temple was likely reconstructed in the Rattanakosin period (post-1782 CE).

Wat Pho Phueak is in geographical coordinates: 14° 22' 34.10" N, 100° 31' 38.30" E.

There are two other monastery sites with identical names in the Ayutthaya District in Phai Ling Sub-district and the Pratu Chai Sub-district (Historical Park).


[1] Rajanubhab, Damrong (Prince) (1917). Our Wars with the Burmese. White Lotus, Bangkok (2000). p. 38. [2] Cushman, Richard D. & Wyatt, David K. (2006). The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya. Bangkok: The Siam Society. pp. 46-7.