Wat Jek is a "disappeared temple". It appeared on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's (1926)
map. It is also listed on a Fine Arts Department tourist map of 1993. This temple would
have been located along Khlong Nai Kai (Khlong Makham Riang) on the property of
where a Women's Dormitory stands today.
The history of Wat Jek is unknown, but its name is an old word for "Chinese". A
population of Chinese maritime traders settled in this harbour/warehouse area along a
road known as China Street. China Street is documented on the French map by Sieur de
La Mare (1751). Engelbert Kaempfer added in 1727 that China Street was made of
brick and included some of the best houses in the city (p 44). In addition to the Chinese
population, these houses also belonged to French, Dutch, Muslim, and English merchants.
It is not clear what this temple looked like, nor do we know if it was just a basic joss
house or shrine. No trace of it can be seen for certain.
Wat Jek would have been located on the corner of the street next to Rojana Rd and
along Khlong Makham Riang. Therefore, it could have been damaged in the process of
modern road construction. This temple probably "disappeared" as a new population
moved into the neighborhood during the Ratanakosin period. Given its location near the
harbour, it could also have been a casualty from the period in which King Rama I and
King Rama III removed bricks to Bangkok to build a new capital.
During the post-Ayutthaya period, a teacher training college for women was located
close by. This explains why this old temple is situated on a women's dormitory property
|Text by Ken May - January 2009
|(Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map - Anno
|(Detail of a 1974 Fine Arts Department map -
Courtesy Dr. Surat Lertlum, Chulachomklao Royal
On a 19th century map we find a temple called Wat Tha Phai or the "Monastery of the
Landing of the Paddle" in the area where Wat Jek was situated. As the word "landing"
appears in its name, the temple was likely situated on the west bank of Khlong Nai Kai
at present called Khlong Makham Riang. Wat Tha Phai could as thus be just another or
old name for Wat Jek. The map indicates no existence of a chedi or prang. It is only my
assumption that Wat Jek and Wat Tha Phai were one and the same temple.
Making an assessment off all the monastic structures, in the zone demarcated by Chikun
Rd, Pa Thon Rd, Pridi Banomyong Rd and U-thong Rd is rather difficult, as the position
and name of the structures varies on different maps. On a 19th century map there are 15
structures counted, while on the 20th century PBR map there are 13 mentioned. There is
inconsistence in the names and the positions. Even maps drafted by the Fine Arts
Department, what I presume, based on excavations in the zone, shed no light on this
matter. Positions of monastic structures can be asserted, but their ancient names will
remain questioned forever.
The site is located in Geo Coord: 14° 21' 3.02" N, 100° 34' 30.34" E.
|(Detail of a 19th century map - map is oriented
|(Detail of a 1993 Fine Arts Department map - Courtesy
Khun Supot Prommanot, Director of the 3th Regional
Office of Fine Arts)
|Addendum & maps by Tricky Vandenberg - May 2014