WAT KHONGKHA VIHAN (วัดโคงคาวิหาร)
Text & photographs by Ken May - September 2009
This monastery was situated on the city island just west of Wat Suwannawat. The site
is now located on the premises of a school (Pra Nakorn Si Ayutthaya Kindergarten) at
Tambon Tha Wasukri. U-Thong Road passes by just north of this site.

Historical data about this monastery is unknown. Wat Khongkha Vihan was formerly
located within the city walls along the old
Lopburi River (Khlong Mueang). It was first
indicated on
Phraya Boran Rachathanin’s 1926 map and appeared in the 1957 Fine Arts
Department Guide to Ayudhya. Unfortunately, this monastery is missing today. The only
trace of its former existence can be found in a small courtyard at the school that is
surrounded by modern buildings. A large tree grows on the site of the former monastery,
and some of the old bricks can be seen within its roots. This tree doubles as a small
shrine with its own spirit house. It is usually decorated with yellow cloth and offerings are
still made to the fenced-in shrine.

Based on verbal narrative, this monastery was greatly eroded even before the school was
built on site. There wasn’t enough left of this former monastery to even classify it as a
brick mound. However, at some point, the area around the tree was built up to
commemorate the ancient site. Few people know the purpose of the shrine or remember
that a monastery once existed on the premises. It would be more accurate to list Wat
Khongkha Viharn as a lost temple.
(Extract of a begin-20th century map)
(Extract of a mid-19th century map)
Addendum

Wat Khongkha Vihan is also indicated on a map drafted in the mid-19th century with
the denomination Wat Khongkha Phihan (วัดโคงคาพิหาร) (1). The map shows the
presence of a chedi.

The monastery was located east of the Phra Kalahom boat landing on the city canal
(Khlong Mueang) just opposite
Wat Pho.

The name of the monastery refers to one of the five great rivers (Maha Nathi), whose
source is in the Himalayan lake Anodat. They are named Khongkha (Ganges), Yumna,
Achirawadi, Saraphum, and Mahi. [1]

Footnotes:

(1) Phihan (พิหาร) could be translated as "temple" and is nowadays written as "vihan"
(วิหาร). Mark Carr writes the following on Phihan: "
The temples of Samana Kodam
are called Pihan (2); and round them are habitations for the priests, resembling a
college; so those of Boddou are called Vihar, and the principal priests live in them
as in a college. The word Vihar, or, as the natives of Bengal would write it, Bihar,
is Sanscrit
."
(2) Refers here to the temples of Siam.

References:

[1] The Wheel of The Law - Henry Alabaster  (1871) - Trubner & Co, London - Page
307.
[2] Descriptive and historical papers relating to the Seven Pagodas on the Coromandel
Coast - Sir William Chambers, Mark William Carr (1869) - Page 21.
(Addendum & maps by Tricky Vandenberg - January 2011)