Wat Phraya Maen is a restored ruin located off the city island in the northern area of Ayutthaya, in the Khlong Sra Bua Sub-district. The area where the monastery is situated is locally called Thung Khwan (1). Wat Dokmai (defunct) and Wat Bua (mound) stood east, while Wat Prasat (restored ruin) was in the south. The area is subjected to seasonal flooding.


The exact date when Wat Phraya Maen was established is unknown. The monastery could have initially referred to the leader of the Mon (called Maen).

The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya also show that King Phetracha (reign 1688-1703 CE) recognised Wat Phraya Maen as a Royal temple. The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya gives different dates for the order of its restoration and magnification, being 1689, 1692 or 1694 CE and which was finalised in respectively 1691, 1694 or after 1694 CE. 1694 CE was the year that the rebellion of Sri Nakhon Thammarat sparked due to his usurpation of the throne following King Narai’s death in 1688 CE, was crushed. A revered monk who lived at this monastery prophesized that King Phetracha would rule the wealth of an absolute monarch. The king made royal donations to this monastery after he was crowned. A royal command was issued to restore and beautifully decorate the recitation hall, the preaching hall, the seminary, and the residential dormitories. Upon completion of the renovation, an elaborate festival was launched that lasted several days and nights. Three hundred monks were conscripted to chant at the event. King Phetracha personally attended the festivities in a procession of royal barges on Khlong Sra Bua. The king bestowed the four requisites for the temple on the Royal abbot and the clerics and endowed land subordinated to the monastery to accrue taxes. “In that previous year of the serpent, the Supreme Holy Lord of the Realm turned His holy royal thoughts to the virtue of the Reverend Professor, Abbot of the Monastery of Phraya Mæn, who had offered up a prophecy that He would get to enjoy the royal wealth while He was still ordained in the monkhood and living at the Monastery of Phraya Mæn:

“Now the Holy Person and Overlord made a most precise prediction. Also, he gave continuous advice and instruction in all the duties of ascetics. He has much holy virtue and it would be appropriate to act to repay him for his holy virtue in full measure.” After having made His holy royal resolution, His Majesty in the morning accordingly proceeded with His holy throne barge to the Monastery of Phraya Mæn. After arriving and halting the holy throne barge at the bridge, His Majesty ascended to the holy temple. After offering veneration to the Reverend Professor with true respect, the King accordingly spoke with him about the construction of his holy temple to make it more permanent than before. Now, the Holy Person and Overlord having given his permission, His Majesty accordingly returned to the Holy Royal Palace Enclosure and issued a holy royal order commanding the primary grand marshal to conscript men to go and construct the Monastery of Phraya Mæn. Now the construction of that holy temple took over two years and therefore was finished in the year of the goat, third of the decade. Then the King manifested His holy compassion by having a dedication and various festivities in celebration, as well as conrom tumbling, held for three whole days. Then the King bestowed suitable alms articles on the holy clerics in great numbers, set aside indeed numerous monks’ servants as attendants of that holy temple, and bestowed holy endowments of land to be subordinate to the holy temple in accordance with tradition. Then the King manifested His holy compassion by appointing the Reverend Professor to be the Lord Abbot of the Monastery of Phraya Mæn, naming him Reverend Si Satca Yan Muni, Royal Abbot of the Village Dwelling Sect, and bestowing on him all the articles necessary to an ascetic in accordance with his dignity of holy royal abbot in every detail.” [1]


There are many structures at Wat Phraya Maen that the Fine Arts Department has restored.

The ordination hall is in good shape. The high walls and foundation are intact, and the floor has been retiled. There are hundreds of small niches inside the walls for placing holy images, similar to the style at Wat Phanan Choeng. There is also a basic altar inside the Ubosot, but few traces of Buddha images have survived. The outer windows have retained some of their stucco decorations, and pieces of ceramic tiles can still be seen embedded in the stucco.

The main stupa in the west has only its foundations remaining. Two prang-like pagodas are seen on the east side or in front of the ordination hall. These pagodas are in spire shape on a twelve-rabbeted angles square base and stairs on each side. The pagoda has a twenty-rabbeted angled square frame with 3 level bases, a Garuda decoration level and a spire. The style of the pagoda is typical for the late Ayutthaya period. Two more twelve rabbeted-angled chedis are found behind the ordination hall. Some chedi foundations can be found all around the main structure.

There is a bell tower or ‘Ho Rakhang’ on the premises. The bell tower foundations are in a square plan with sides of 4.30 metres. The building consists of a ‘Ruen-that’ or a location for hanging the bell, having a lotus petal-shaped gap on each side. There is no permanent stairway, and there should have been a temporary wooden ladder to ring the bell.

There is a rectangular building in the west. This building has a length of 8 metres, a width of 3.5 meters and has stairs on each side. The main entrance faces east. The structure stands on a large foundation with space for walking clockwise.

There was a square water supply building with a width of 7.70 meters and a water supply system for the monastery based on Western influence. This kind of water supply was found at the Grand Palace in Ayutthaya and the Rachaniwet Palace in Lopburi and testified to the importance of this temple.

Wat Phraya Maen remained a royal temple until the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767 CE. Many valuable artefacts were found while excavating this site: Buddha images, a cauldron for smelting metals, and a large variety of Chinese pottery.

The monastery is in geographical coordinates: 14° 22' 40.46" N, 100° 33' 13.89" E.


(1) Thung Khwan, or "Field of Fumes", is an area north of the city of Ayutthaya bordered on the north by Thung Lum Phli, on the east by Khlong Sra Bua and Thung Kaeo, in the south by the old Lopburi River and in the west by Thung Phukhao Thong.


[1] Cushman, Richard D. & Wyatt, David K. (2006). The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya. Bangkok: The Siam Society. pp. 356-7.