Wat Takrai (1) is a restored ruin located off the city island in the northern area of Ayutthaya, in the Khlong Sra Bua Sub-district. The temple ruins are located west of Khlong Sra Bua (2) and north of Wat Na Phra Men. In the vicinity, there are many old temples, such as Wat Hatsadawat, Wat Khok Phraya, Wat Choeng Tha, Wat Phai Lom and Wat Kamphaeng.

The monastery was situated in Thung Khwan. Thung Khwan, or "Field of Fumes", was 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. This area was likely related to crematory services.

The substantial site consists of an ordination hall, a vihara with a large chedi, ponds, a prang, and several minor chedis. The ordination hall is a rectangular building, 16 metres long on 12 metres wide. There were two entries in the front and two in the back. The pedestal for the Buddha's image stood west, indicating the statue was looking to the east. The assembly or sermon hall is a classic rectangular structure 26 metres long and 12 metres wide. The building has porches in the front and the back. There are three entries in the front. Also, here the main Buddha image faces east as the pedestal stands in the west.

The large principal chedi is bell-shaped and stands on an octagonal base. Between the spire (chatra) and the throne (harmika) is a kind of niche with stucco Buddha images, indicative of the use of the Sukhothai style in the reign of King Borommaracha II (1424-1448 CE) and Borommatrailokanat (1448-1463 CE).

The prang in situ dates from the late Ayutthaya period (1629-1767 CE). The base of the prang is higher than the body. There are about 15 small bell-shaped chedis with an octagonal base positioned north and south of the principal chedi. There are also two square ablution ponds made of brick in a north-south alignment, typical for this monastery.

The monastic complex is surrounded by an outer wall, delimitating the monastic area. The wall measures 58 metres by 35 metres and has two gates, one on the east and one on the south.

The temple's former grounds were extensive, stretching down to Khlong Sra Bua, creating a large courtyard needed for cremation ceremonies. Wat Takrai, located just north of Wat Na Phra Men, the crematory temple of the Grand Palace, was thus probably also a crematory temple.

The monastery is mentioned in the ancient Ayutthaya poem Khun Chang Khun Phaen (the story of Khun Phaen, Khun Chang, and the fair Nang Wanthong) as the place where Wanthong was cremated after being executed by royal order and where Khun Chang and Phra Wai (her son with Khun Phaen) took their vows temporarily.

“Saithong, who had been like her elder sister, recovered her senses and got up. She thought of Wanthong forlornly, and tears splashed down in torrents. She took leave of Siprajan and went to board a boat, missing her terribly. She arrived at the capital and went straight to the house of Khun Phaen. She went into his room and asked, ‘Where’s Wanthong’s body?’ Khun Phaen said, ‘Buried at Wat Takrai.’ He had someone take her there. Saithong descended from the ruean in tears. She pushed herself along in a daze. At the graveyard, her sobbing worsened and she collapsed down in a sad heap.” [1]

“Khun Chang got the robes and had his head shaved. Holding the robes with his hands in wai, he went in, opened his mouth, rolled his eyes and cried ‘uka.’ Then he trembled with nerves and mumbled. He got everything mixed up, and could not remember. ‘Please tell it to me, Luangta Nu. I’ve never “uka” before. Please help.’ He raised the triple robe to hide his face, and followed the recitation. He put on the robes, rolled the upper one on his shoulder, took the precepts, and came out. He stayed in the kuti at Wat Takrai for three nights, then disrobed and went to Suphan. After Wanthong’s cremation was over, Phra Wai joyfully went to stay in the monkhood for seven days. After disrobing he went to attend on the king.” [1]

In the manuscript Testimony of the king from Wat Pradu Songtham, a document likely compiled in the early Rattanakosin period is written that there was a land market from the frontage of Wat Takrai down to the frontage of Wat Na Phra Men. [2][3][4]

Based on the contents of the ancient Ayutthaya poem 'Khun Chang Khun Phaen', the monastery must have been established before 1515 CE, when the war with Lampang took place on the banks of the Mae Wang River. The Laotians were defeated, and the Siamese captured Lampang.

Excavations indicate that this monastery was already built in the early Ayutthaya period (1350-1488 CE). The complex was vacated during the Burmese war of 1766-1767 CE. In the Rattanakosin period, the temple was used again in the reigns of King Rama IV (Mongkut) and Rama V (Chulalongkorn).

The site is indicated on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926 CE.

The restored ruin of Wat Takrai is in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 55.45" N, 100° 33' 25.30" E.


(1) The translation of the word 'Takrai' (ตะไกร) is no mean feat. Many monasteries are called after vegetation. 'Takhrai' (ตะไคร้) could indicate Lemongrass, but obviously, it is not in this spelling. 'Takrai' (ตะไกร), as an old term, stood for the name of a bird. The black-thighed falconet (Microhierax fringillarius) is one of the smallest birds of prey, typically measuring between 14-16 centimetres long, with a 27-32 centimetres wingspan, which is a size comparable to a typical sparrow. It is native to Thailand and neighbouring countries. The black-thighed falconet is a raptor, and many raptors eat carrion. They are often found in loose pairs or groups of ten or more. Wat Takrai was a funerary temple and maybe received its name on the same basis as the many Wat Raeng or Monasteries of the Vulture, where the birds consumed cadavers.
(2) Khlong Sra Bua, or the Lilly Pond Canal, is situated in the northern area, off the city island, in the Khlong Sra Bua District. The waterway splits from Khlong Hua Ro between Wat Ngiu (defunct) and Wat Si Liam. The canal has its mouth at the City Canal (Khlong Mueang) between Wat Na Phra Men and Wat Mai in front of the northeastern corner of the Grand Palace. The canal was a shortcut in the old Lopburi River.


[1] The Tale of Khun Chang Khun Phaen Siam’s Great Folk Epic of Love and War. Translated and edited by Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit (2010). Chap 36: The execution of Wanthong.

[2] Pongsripian, Vinai, Dr. (2007). Phanna phumisathan Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya: Ekasan jak Ho Luang. Geographical description of Ayutthaya: Documents from the palace. Bangkok: Usakane.

[3] Baker, Chris (2011). Note On Testimonies And Description Of Ayutthaya. Journal of the Siam Society. Vol. 99. p. 77 (paragraph on KWPS).[4] Baker, Chris (2011). Before Ayutthaya Fell: Economic Life in an Industrious Society. 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. pp. 52-3.


Reference: Krom Sinlapakorn (1968), Phra Rachawang lae Wat Boran nai Jangwat Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya (Fine Arts Department).

No. 1: A teaching hall (Kanparien) called by the villagers ‘Sala Din’. It is a low pavilion made of bricks and mortar, 8.00 metres wide and 12.80 metres long. At present, there are only foundations.

No. 2: The ordination hall (Ubosot) is surrounded by an inner wall made of bricks in a rectangular shape with a width of 22.80 metres and a length of 28.00 metres. The Ubosot is located on a platform 12 metres wide and 16 metres long. The hall has a width of 8.80 metres and a length of 12.80 metres and still has walls on all four sides, but some are damaged. The gable is made of wood with engraved lacquer patterns and decorated with green glass. (glass decoration appeared in the Ayutthaya period for the first time, in the reign of Khun Luang Sorasak (1703-1709 CE), who changed the Mandapa Phra Phutthabat into five spires and also decorated with glass the Phra Phutthabat area). The presiding Buddha image is in sandstone, with a lap width of 1.20 metres and a height of 1.40 metres. The lotus decoration of the head of the pillar is typical for the Ayutthaya period. The bases of the boundary stones (Sima) were made of brick-and-mortar, with three rabbets on each angle. The boundary stones were sandstone with lion patterns.

No. 3: A pond made of bricks-and-mortar, rectangular in shape. On the east side of the vihara, there are two ponds 14.80 metres wide. No. 4: A vihara is surrounded by an inner wall of bricks, 58 metres long and 37.20 metres wide. There are two large gates without arches on the east and south, each 1.60 metres wide, and two small doors on the west, 1 metre each, while the north side has no entries. Within the inner wall are the following structures: (ก) The main vihara is situated on a platform with a width of 11 metres and a length of 24.80 metres. The vihara is 6.40 metres wide and 20 metres long. The principal Buddha image is made of sandstone in the Ayutthaya style. The roof tiles are Gabu tiles.

(ข) The temple's main chedi is located on a base with a square shape, 11 metres wide and 15 metres high. The base of the chedi is octagonal, 9.40 metres in diameter. It is a Lanka-style chedi of which the top is damaged.

(ค) The chedis on the south side of the vihara. There are 12 stupas of various sizes, the largest with a diameter of 3 metres the smallest size, 1.60 metres in diameter.

(ง) The minor chedis on the north side of the vihara. There are three stupas with a diameter of 5.20 metres 2 of them with a diameter of 4 metres. One stupa is Sri Lanka-shaped, like a large chedi.

(จ) A prang is located in the northeast corner of the vihara, on a square base, 4.60 metres wide. It is a twelve-rabbeted-angled prang the largest width is 2.80 metres per side. The porches in all four directions are decorated with glass patterns.

(ฉ) The monk's dwelling (Kuti) is a small square-shaped building made of bricks-and-mortar, 2.80 metres wide, 3.80 metres long, with one entrance door.

No. 5: A square-shaped low pavilion outside the inner wall of the vihara in the southeast with a width of 4.40 metres and a length of 8 metres.