Wat Salak, or the Monastery of the Chisel, was situated on Ayutthaya's city island in the city's western area in the Pratu Chai Sub-district.

Historical data about the monastery and its construction is unknown.

In the old documents, we find Wat Salak being denominated as Wat Kuti Salak. The Nang Hong Bridge linked Wat Khwit Street (1) across Khlong Chakrai Yai (2) with Wat Kuti Salak. [1]

The site shows on a 19th-century map by an unknown surveyor. The temple stood between Lao Road and Khlong Tha Phra (3) on the west bank of Khlong Chakrai Yai. Wat Yi Rai stood south on the other canal bank. Wat Jan was southwest, Wat Si Racha northwest, and opposite the Chakrai Yai canal was Wat Rak in a northeast direction and Wat Som Yai southeast. There is no indication of a stupa.

The position of Wat Salak is nearly identical to Wat Yi Rai (Wat Pi Rai) depicted on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's (PBR) map of 1926 CE. The temple was located at the confluence of Khlong Chakrai Yai and Khlong Tha Phra. The monastery stood on the west bank of Khlong Chakrai Yai and the north bank of Khlong Tha Phra. Wat Kao (defunct) stood in the north, while Wat Pa Phat (defunct) was south. Opposite Khlong Chakrai stood Wat Chana Man (defunct).

PBR draws two structures one is named Wat Yi Rai, while the other is not named. The northern structure could be Wat Salak, as shown on the 19th-century map. On this map, Khlong Tha Phra separates Wat Salak from Wat Yi Rai.

The ancient sites in that area were cleared in the early 1970s during construction works of an expansion project of the (former) Ayutthaya Agriculture School (Withayalai Kasetrakam).

There are no traces of ground-level foundations or brickwork, and I classified the temple as defunct. [2]

Wat Salak was in approximative geographical coordinates: 14° 20' 52.96" N, 100° 33' 20.91" E.

(1) Wat Khwit street must have been named after the Khwit Monastery in its vicinity. Until today I found no indication of this monastery on any map.

(2) Khlong Chakrai Yai is part of a waterway running through the west of Ayutthaya from north to south. The canal was the extension of Khlong Pak Tho and ran from the Lam Hoei Bridge to the Chakrai Yai Gate opposite Wat Phutthaisawan. The canal was a shortcut through the oxbow of the Lopburi River and connected the old Lopburi River, present Khlong Mueang in the north with - what is today - the Chao Phraya River in the south. Ban Chakrai was a village located on the city island but outside the city walls.(3) Khlong Tha Phra, also known as Khlong Klaep (Ricehusk Canal), is a defunct canal situated on Ayutthaya's city island. Some stretches of this old canal still can be seen today on the western side. The canal had its mouth at the old Lopburi River today renamed the Chao Phraya River. Here stood one of the eleven water gates around the island called Pratu Khlong Tha Phra. The canal ended at the confluence with Khlong Chakrai Yai. Beyond this confluence, it continued in an eastern direction as Khlong Pa Mo and joined the Pratu Thep Mi Canal. There is evidence that this canal continued eastwards in a straight line to join Khlong Makham Riang.


[1] Baker, Chris (2014). Final Part of the Description of Ayutthaya with Remarks on Defense, Policing, Infrastructure, and Sacred Sites. Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 102 and Pongsripian, Vinai, Dr (2007). Phanna phumisathan Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya: Ekasan jak Ho Luang. Geographical description of Ayutthaya: Documents from the palace. Bangkok: Usakane. p. 35.

[2] Bangkok Post - 9 Dec 1972. Work suspended on Ayutthaya sites. The article states that "machinery engaged on the Ayutthaya Agriculture School extensions ploughed up the ruins of at least five temples in the disputed area". The work at the school was stopped after students had sent a petition to the NEC. The Director-General of the Fine Arts Department stated he was sure the damage had already been done.

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