Wat Khok Phraya or "The Monastery of the Mound of the Kings" is a small monastic ruin build in the Early Ayutthaya period. It is located north outside the city island in Lum Phli sub-district in the vicinity of Wat Na Phra Men (Wat Na Phra Meru) and Wat Hatsadawat.
The ruin consists of a walled vihara with a bell shaped chedi on octagonal base. There are several chedi rai in situ. A brick platform is situated on the north side. As it was described in 1629 by Van Vliet as being an old ruin, the temple had to be restored several times during the centuries.
The location was witness to many punishments and executions of royals of Ayutthaya. Some locals calls the place haunted. It was here that the young King Thong Lan, son of King Borommaracha I was executed by Ramesuan, the governor of Lopburi, in 1388. The method used in Ayutthaya in that time was to tie the victim in a velvet sack, and dashed in its chest with a club of sandal-wood. By this means the royal body was not touched.
The child king Yot Fa, son of King Chairacha was executed in 1548 by Khun Worawongsa in this location in order that he could usurp the throne.
In 1611 King Si Saowaphak (1610-1611) was killed by Prince Si Sin, the younger brother of King Songtham and his body was buried at this monastery. Prince Sri Sin, rightful heir to the throne, on his turn, was killed in early 1629 at Wat Khok Phraya on order of King Songtham's son Prince Chettha. Van Vliet wrote at that time:
"There he was placed upon a piece of red cloth, whereupon his chest was dashed in with a piece of sandalwood. They wrapped up the body and the sandalwood club in the cloth, and the whole was thrown into a well where the body was left to decompose."
King Chettha shortly after was executed at the same time with his mother Queen Amarit on order of the Mandarins at this temple in august 1629, eight months after his throne ascendancy in Dec 1628. In 1633, during the third year of King Prasat Thong's reign, the usurper king succeeded in killing nearly all scions of King Songtham at Wat Khok Phraya. Van Vliet wrote:
"Hereupon the three boys (who together were about eighteen years of age) were apprehended, taken to the same place of execution, and killed in the same manner as their lawful uncle and their four brothers. The woman was cut in two and her remains were thrown into the river."
In 1656 it was the theatre for the execution of King Chai by Prince Si Sutham Racha and Prince Narai and the killing of King Si Sutham Ratcha by Prince Narai. Prince Sarasak (Luang Sorasak) in 1703 at the end of the reign of King Phetracha, moves against its future rivals and killed the princes Trat Noi and Khwan, both, sons of King Phetracha and candidates for the throne. Their bodies were buried at the monastery.
In 1758 three half-brothers of King Uthumphon, who were collecting large bands of armed followers and appeared to be plotting a rebellion were executed on the spot.
This place finally, has been the killing ground for five dynasties of Kings starting by the U-Thong and ending by the Ban Phlu Luang Dynasty, Ayutthaya's last.
(1)The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman & David K. Wyatt (2006) - The Siam Society. (2) A History of Siam - W.A.R. Wood. - (1924) - Chalermnit Press. (3) Van Vliet's Siam - Chris Baker, Dhiravat Na Pombejra, Alfons Van Der Kraan & David K. Wyatt. - (2005) - Silkworm Books.
Text & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - August 2009