|KHLONG CHAKRAI NOI (คลองประตูฉะไกรน้อย)
|Text, maps & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - February 2011
|Khlong Chakrai Noi is situated on Ayutthaya's city island outside the Historical Park in
Pratu Chai sub-district.
Only some small stretches of the former canal remain on the premises of the Rajaphat
Institute, South of Rojana Rd. The premises of the Sam Chao Phraya Museum show
also a stretch of water, but here the old canal has been probably altered.
Khlong Chakrai Noi had its exit in the loop of the old Lopburi River around the city, a
river which became in the 19th century the Chao Phraya River due to northern deviation
works in the 19th century (See the essay: Ayutthaya's Everchanging Waterways).
At the mouth of the canal was one of the eleven water gates of the city; a water gate
called Pratu Chakrai Noi. This water gate was very close to a famous land gate called
Pratu Chai or the "Gate of Victory"; a gate where the most important guests were
received with ceremony. The largest sub-district of Ayutthaya at present still bears the
name Pratu Chai.
On the eastern bank of the canal stood once a fortress called Pom Pratu Chakrai Noi,
which foundations were still visible in Phraya Boran Rachathanin's time. On the opposite
site of the "Mae Nam" was the mouth of Khlong Khu Cham, an important canal south of
Temples along the west bank of Khlong Chakrai Noi were Wat Borom Phuttharam and
Wat San Jao Thong. Wat Pa Nai stood at its northern extremity in a marshy area at the
confluence with another canal leading to Khlong Pratu Thep Mi and further up to Khlong
Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map shows three canal connections with Khlong Pratu Thep
Mi; one near Wat Pa Nai, one south of Wat Phra Ngam and one between Wat
Singharam and Wat Suan Luang Khangkhaw. A mid-19th century map shows only a
single connection with Khlong Pratu Thep Mi north of Wat Pa Nai.
The canal was crossed by a road on at least one place in the vicinity of Wat Borom
Phuttharam. On this crossing stood the Sing Bridge.
The meaning of the word "chakrai" (ฉะไกร) is unknown to the author. It could be a
corruption of the word "ฉัตร", a many tiered (royal) umbrella and the word "ไกร"
meaning powerful or mighty. The canal could as thus have received the name "Little
Canal of the Mighty Royal Umbrella". The latter remains of course a pure guess.
|(View of Khlong Chakrai Noi & Sing Bridge)
|(View of Wat Borom Phuttharam along Khlong
|(Extract of a begin-20th century map)
|(Extract of a mid-19th century map)