WAT PHONG





Wat Phong is a defunct temple located on Ayutthaya’s city island within the Ayutthaya Historical Park in the Tha Wasukri Sub-district. The monastery stood on the west bank of Lam Khu Pak Sra, south of Wat Sangkha Pat, east of Wat Trai Trueng and north of Wat Song Khon.
The location of Wat Phong by the Fine Arts Department is on the north side of Fire Road, south of Wat Nok and east of Wat Sangkha Pat on a small islet in Bueng Phra Ram. This location is incorrect, and the site must be Wat Talapat.
History
Much of the history of Wat Phong is unknown. In the late Ayutthaya period, there were shops of Thai and Mon selling bowls, trays, salvers and all kinds of brassware behind Wat Nok and in front of Wat Phong. In the area, there was also a fresh market called the Mon Market. Mon people lived thus in the vicinity of Wat Nok and Wat Phong. [1]
The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya mention that a group of Mon settled at Wat Nok. In 1584 CE, the King of Hongsa, Nanda Bayin (reign 1581-1587 CE) and the ruler of Ava, his suzerain, had differences. Bayin, fearing Prince Naresuan, the ruler of Phitsanulok, wanted to make away with him. Using the feud with Ava, he requested the help of Naresuan in defeating Ava. Naresuan left Phitsanulok for Khraeng (1) over Chiang Thong. Arriving at the Mon City of Khraeng (1), he encamped his troops near the monastery of the Maha Thera Khan Chòng. King Bayin instructed Phraya Kiat and Phraya Ram to make a flanking attack on Naresuan's troops from the rear as they went up to Ava and had to make sure that King Naresuan was seized and executed. They informed Maha Thera Khan Chong of their instructions. Maha Thera Khan Chong advised on his turn Prince Naresuan of Bayin's plans. Naresuan withdrew over Kan Buri, taking the influential monk and the two army leaders with their army and families to Ayutthaya. King Maha Thammaracha of Ayutthaya installed Maha Thera Khan Chong as the new Patriarch of Wat Maha That and his relatives at the village behind Wat Nok.
“When the Royal Father and King Naresuan had finished making their plans together, the King was pleased to have the great holy Thera Khan Chòng located at Phra Maha That Monastery [F: as His Holiness Ariyawong, abbot of the Village Dwelling Sect residing at Phra Si Rattana Maha That Warawihan Royal Monastery,] and bestowed on him a sappathon umbrella, a kanching umbrella, a palanquin, bearers, rice, an annual bounty, and the various eight requisites of a Buddhist monk. [F: Now, the King was pleased to have the position of His Holiness Wannarat, the original Patriarch of the Village Dwelling Sect, administer only the Assembly of the South as the Division of the Right the separation of the Village Dwelling Sect into two assemblies originated at that time and has continued right down to the present.] On Phraya Kiat and Phraya Phra Ram, the King bestowed gold trays of rank, gold lotus water-goblets, swords inlaid with gold, silver coins, clothing, and utensils and comestibles in great amounts. The Mon families which had been transported on down were also granted to Phraya Kiat and Phraya Phra Ram to supervise and administer. Then Phraya Kiat and Phraya Phra Ram were directed to reside in the vicinity of Khamin Village and Khun Saen Monastery. The relatives of the great holy Thera Khan Chòng were directed to live in the vicinity of a village behind Nok Monastery.” [2]
Wat Phong on the maps:
On the 19th-century map, Wat Phong is situated north of Pang Yi Khan. Wat Song Khon stands in line to its south. A road ran east of both temples (2). Pang Yi Khan was a small settlement on an islet in the Yi Khan swamp (present Bueng Phra Ram), and I presume it was situated where at present stands the chedi from Wat Sangkha Pat (the latter is positioned on the old map in the location of Wat Langkha Dam). The map indicates the existence of a prang.
On Phraya Boran Rachathanin's (PBR) map of 1926 CE, Wat Phong also stands in line with Wat Sangkha Pat to the north and Wat Song Khon to the south in an identical position as on the 19th-century map.
On the Fine Arts Department maps of 1957, 1974 and 1993 CE, we find Wat Phong in the same position as the 19th-century map and the PBR map.
On the 2007 CE FAD GIS map, Wat Phong changes position and replaces Wat Talapat. Wat Phong was thus situated south of Fire Road. (3) The reconstructed site of Wat Phong on the north side of Fire Road is historically not correct and should be Wat Talapat.
The site is in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 14.7" N, 100° 33' 54.2" E.
Footnotes:
(1) Michael Vickery, in a review of ‘The Short History of the Kings of Siam - Journal of the Siam Society 64.2 (1976)’, believes Khraeng/Graeng stands for the Gyaing River, a river in Kayin State and Mon State, southeastern Myanmar. The river flows into the Salween River immediately above Moulmein. The City of Khraeng was likely along this river.(2) The road running next to the defunct Lam Khu Pak Sra. Lam Khu Pak Sra (Lit. the ditch to the pond's mouth) is a small watercourse diverting water from the old Lopburi River (a stretch called today Khlong Mueang) through the Maha Thera Mai Sae tunnel gate in the city wall and through the area presently called Bueng Phra Ram. The water ran through earthenware pipes under the Elephant Road, passed Wat Yan Sen and Wat Chum Saeng, and ran under the Palace Road to continue further south through earthenware pipes buried under Nak Bridge Road (present Pa Thon Road) and through buried pipes to join Khlong Pratu Thep Mi. [4] (3) At present, the path in Bueng Phra Ram Park leading to Wat Phra Ram. Fire Road was an ancient brick road mentioned on Bellin's map published in l'Abbé Prévost's "Histoire Générale des Voyages" of 1751 CE a map of Ayutthaya named “Plan de la Ville de Siam, Capitale du Royaume de ce Nom Levé par un Ingénieur Français en 1687”. The street started south of Wat Maha That and led from Khlong Pratu Khao Pluak straight towards Wat Phra Ram, the funeral site of the founder of Ayutthaya, King Ramathibodhi I (reign 1351-1369 CE).




References:


[1] Baker, Chris (2011). 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. 65.

[2] Cushman, Richard D. (2006). The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya. p. 90 / Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat, Phra Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph - Naresuan and Hongsawadi Fight, and Naresuan Returns to Ayutthaya.

[3] Tourism Authority of ThailandMaster. Plan for Tourism Development of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya and the Neighbouring Provinces. 6 August 1988. p. 4-58.

[4] Rachathanin, Phraya Boran. Athibai Phaenthi Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya kap khamwinitjai khong Phraya Boran Racha Thanin. Explanation of the map of the Capital of Ayutthaya with a ruling of Phraya Boran Rachathanin - Revised 2nd edition and Geography of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Ton Chabab print office. Nonthaburi (2007). p. 53.