WAT RAT BUA KHAO





Wat Rat Bua Khao, or the Monastery of the Royal White Lotus, is an active monastery located off the city island in the western area of Ayutthaya in the Ban Mai Sub-district.


The monastery stood on the north bank of the Maha Phram Canal (1), a connection canal to the Chao Phraya River in the Ayutthaya era (2).


Wat Khanon stands on the opposite side of the waterway.


The monastery was near the northern tax station or a toll house (Khanon), which checked boats for prohibited items and weapons as prescribed by law in the Ayutthaya period.


The monastery dates to 1657 CE in the reign of King Narai (1656-1688 CE) and, based on the Temple Registration System of the National Office of Buddhism, received its Wisung Kham Sima in 1667 CE.


The history of the temple is unknown.


The monastery features an ordination hall and other monastic structures.


Wat Rat Bua Khao features under the name Wat Tamnak on the Monthon Krung Kao map of 1916 CE.


Wat Rat Bua Khao is in geographical coordinates: 14° 22' 20.4" N, 100° 31' 23.1" E.





(View of the ordination hall of Wat Ratcha Bua Khao)



Footnotes:


(1) The Maha Phram Canal is situated northwest of Ayutthaya in the Bang Ban Sub-district. The waterway is, at present, not much more than a moat, running north of Bang Ban's district office towards Ban Pom. The Maha Phram Canal runs between Wat Khanon and Wat Lat Bua Khao and joins there the Chao Phraya River. The canal was dug to give Ayutthaya access to the Chao Phraya River, which in the Ayutthaya period ran through the present Bang Ban Canal, a few kilometres west of the city. This western entry/exit of Ayutthaya was very important as the waterway was used to travel to the northern cities. The Maha Phram Canal started north of Ban Kop Jao, ran through Ban Maha Phram and had its mouth near Wat Khanon in Ban Pom. The canal joined here with a waterway coming down from Ban Mai (Makham Yong), which ran into the Lopburi River at Hua Laem (Cape Head), northwest of Ayutthaya City, in front of Sat Kop Fortress. The Catholic Seminary of the Holy Angels, established by the French in the 17th century, was situated on the canal's southern bank at Ban Maha Phram.

(2) Not many people realise the Chao Phraya River was not running on the west side of the city island in the Ayutthaya period. At that time, it was the Lopburi River that flowed around Ayutthaya. Today's Chao Phraya River ran through the Bang Ban Canal to Si Kuk and from there to Bang Sai (historical site: Chedi Wat Sanam Chai), where the Lopburi River joined the Chao Phraya River. At the time, the Chao Phraya River was situated about ten kilometres west of the centre of Ayutthaya. The city was linked to the ancient Chao Phraya River in the northwest of Ayutthaya via the Khlong Maha Phram and in the southwest via the Khlong Nam Ya. Steve Van Beeck (1994), in 'The Chao Phya: River in Transition" (Oxford University Press - New York.), writes that "It was not until 1857 that an alternative path was created [for the Chao Phraya River]. A 5-kilometre channel was dug from the entrance of Wat Chulamani to Ban Mai. The river responded by following this new course and abandoning the old one, in effect making a secondary river of the stretch that ran from Ban Mai, and into the Chao Phya Noi. Half as wide as the river above and below it, the 1857 Ban Mai shunt funnels the Chao Phya down to Ayutthaya."





(View of a vihara on the premises of Wat Ratcha Bua Khao)