WAT DUSITTHARAM (วัดดุสิตาราม )
Wat Dusittharam is located off the city island in the northeastern area in Hantra sub-
district. The monastery is situated on the west bank of
Khlong Ayodhya, a canal which
had its mouth on the old
Pa Sak River (present Khlong Hantra) and ran into Khlong
Kudi Dao near the temple of the same name. The temple can be reached by taking the
northern road at
Chedi Sam Plum, a landmark when entering Ayutthaya from the south.
Wat Ayodhya lies to its south. The temple is in use by the Buddhist clergy.

Wat Dusittharam (1) earns its name from the Sanskrit word "
Tush" meaning "to be
content" or "
that in which all desires are satisfied". It is referring to the "Tushita
Heaven
", the "joyful heaven or the heavens of the joyous", the fourth Deva heaven
above the earth in which the almost perfect beings, about to become Buddhas, pass their
last angelic life before being born on earth to assume the Buddha hood. [1]

The monastery's area is quite big, with an old and a new part. In the old part we find a
large chedi, a vihara and an ordination hall or ubosot. The modern part consists of  new
modern monastic structures.

The base of the chedi is formed by three graduated levels. The first level is square, with
on its four corners, a small chedi. The second level is also square, but smaller with
indented corners. The middle indented corners have a small chedi, while the others are
stupa-adorned. A stairway at the western side leads to the second level. The third level
is formed by a triple octagonal base representing the three worlds or the Trai Phum. The
three worlds are: the sensual worlds, the form world, and the formless world,
together forming the Buddhist cosmology.

The bell-shaped chedi is build in Ayutthayan style. The dome rests on three concentric
rings, on their turn representing the Trai Phum. The dome is adorned with stucco lotus
buds. The colonnaded harmika or reliquary throne - typical for the Siamese style,  is
indented. The tapering conical spire or umbrella represents the 31 planes of existence
(although the number of discs are seldom found tally with the number of heavens)
finalised by a knob or reflecting “jewel” at the tip.  Many trees grow out of the
monument and a number of large cracks appear on its sides, giving the chedi an even
more aged appearance.

Once, a large vihara stood west of this tall chedi. On its ancient foundations a new open
hall has been built, sheltering some Buddha images.

On the north side stands the former ordination hall or ubosot. It was built in a mixture of
the Early and Late Ayutthaya style. The structure of the ubosot is based on the Early
Ayutthaya style: a small building with a  single covered porch. It has although the
characteristics of the Late Ayutthaya style in its base, being junk or ship-shaped, the
representation of "the lustrous vessel of the true law", by which Buddha would enable
men to cross the ocean of transmigrating existence, and reach the other shore (Nirwana).
[1]

The hall can be accessed via a roofed porch on the west-side. Two small doors lead into
the sanctuary. The sidewalls have both a rectangular window, indicating again its
construction in the Late Ayutthaya period. The two-tiered roof is pretty heavy damaged,
while the wooden gable on the west-side is completely deteriorated due to the weather
conditions. The Bai Sema or boundary stones of the ubosot are beautifully adorned with
a lotus flower, in which the stone has been set. The ubosot is largely dilapidated
throughout the years. Until present, nothing seems to be done to conserve it.

Historical data about the monastery and its construction are unknown. Some sources
state that the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya mention that Wat Dusit was built by "Chao
Mae Wat Dusit", the wet nurse of King Narai and the mother of Phraya Kosathibodi
(Lek) and Phraya Kosathibodi (Pan). She became here nun at the time King Narai
acceded the throne. I found no indications on this issue in the different versions of the
Chronicles translated by Cushman. [2]

Archaeological excavation indicates that this temple was repaired in the Middle
Ayutthaya period (1488 - 1629 AD)or in the end of reign of King Phumintharacha  (r.
1709-1733) or during King Borommakot's reign (r. 1733-1758).

Footnotes:

(1) The suffix "tharam" is used in Sanskrit  for a comparative and superlative form (great
- greater, strong - stronger). [3]

References:

[1] The Wheel of the Law - Alabaster Henry (1871) - Page 177.
[2] The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006)
[3] A Sanskrit grammar; including both the classical language, and the older dialects, of
Veda and Brahmana - William Dwight Whitney (1979) - Leipzig, Breitkopf and Härtel -
page 159 #473.
Main chedi of Wat Dusit
Early Ayutthaya style ordination hall of Wat Dusit
Text & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - September 2009
Updated December 2013
(Main chedi of Wat Dusit)
(Early Ayutthaya style ordination hall of Wat Dusit)
Early Ayutthaya style ordination hall of Wat Dusit
(Early Ayutthaya style ordination hall of Wat Dusit)
Buddha images in situ
(Buddha images in situ)
Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map
(Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map -
Courtesy of the Fine Arts Department - 3th Region)
(Photographs by Tricky Vandenberg)