WAT WIHAN THONG





Wat Wihan Thong, or the Monastery of the Golden Vihara, was located off the city island in the northern area of Ayutthaya, in the Hua Ro Sub-district. The temple was situated on the west bank of Khlong Mueang (1). Wat Wihan Thong stood northeast of Wat Intharam on private grounds. The temple was opposite Wat Khian on the other bank of the river.


Most of the monasteries along the old Lopburi were accessible by water. Still, their premises were split up last century due to the construction of a road from Wat Mai Khlong Sra Bua towards the Elephant Kraal. This split is the case with Wat Kuti Thong, Wat Wong Khong and Wat Mae Nang Plum.


In situ is a brick mound with some pillars, likely from the ordination hall, still standing. They can only be accessed through the small street adjacent to Wat Intharam and a small path between the stilt houses. The ruins are situated in the back garden of the latter. A chedi and an old Bodhi tree can be found on the premises of a private bus company. The chedi is twenty-rabbeted-angled, an architectural style from the second part of the late Ayutthaya period (1633-1767 CE), sometimes called the Fourth period. This period starts with King Borommakot's ascendancy to the throne in 1733 CE and lasts until the Ayutthaya kingdom was devastated by the Burmese in 1767 CE. King Borommakot (reign 1733-1758 CE) was determined to renovate the old religious structures rather than build new ones and restored many ancient monasteries and monuments.


Historical data about the monastery and its construction are unknown.


The site is indicated on a 19th-century map and Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926 CE.


The ruin of Wat Wihan Thong is in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 58.38" N, 100° 34' 6.22" E.





Footnotes:


(1) Khlong Mueang, or the City Canal, is a stretch of the old Lopburi River on the northern side of Ayutthaya's city island. Many people believe it is a manufactured canal. The Lopburi River descending from the north ran in the Ayutthaya period around the city and joined the Chao Phraya River near Bang Sai (below Bang Pa-In). Khlong Mueang is a remnant from that time. Today, the canal starts at Hua Ro and has its mouth at the confluence with the Chao Phraya River near Hua Laem.





Wooden door panels in Ayutthaya Style dating back to the 16-18th century and originating from Wat Wihan Thong are displayed at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum in Ayutthaya.