WAT NOK 1 (วัดนก)
Wat Nok is a restored monastery located within the Ayutthaya Historical Park. It can
easily be found on the southwestern corner of
Wat Maha That. Given such a close
location, Wat Nok is sometimes mistaken as part of Wat Maha That though it has its
own distinct style and history.  

Wat Nok is situated in an east/west axis. In situ at Wat Nok are the remains of a
preaching hall and a large prang-like chedi. The ubosot consists of a basic foundation
and renovated traces of its walls and pillars. There are several headless Buddha images
on its altar - all in Taming Mara poses. The prang-like chedi reflects the Khmer style, but
its multiple redented corners and elaborate portico (with secondary prang) are suggestive
of the late-Ayutthaya period. There is a staircased-entrance on the eastern side, but
nothing is visible inside except for bat droppings. The prang has some of the best
preserved stucco in the city.  There are many geometric designs visible and a number of
preserved images. A few niches have partial remains of standing Buddha images and one
of the redented corners has a statue of some headless mythological figure. On the
southern side there are traces of Rahu eating the sun.

There isn’t a clear record of this temple’s construction date, but
King Maha
Thammaracha
(r. 1569-1590) persuaded a Mon monk to live here around 1584 - the  
Great Holy Tera Khan Chong. This honor was in reward for his role in Prince
Naresuan's winning independence from the Burmese.

Royal Chronicles describe this story in great detail. While still technically allied with the
King Honsawadi of Burma, Prince Naresuan marched his troops to the city of Khraeng,
where they encamped near the monastery of the Great Holy Tera Khan Chong. King
Honsawadi, in the meantime, set up a plan to betray Prince Narasuaen - sending out an
army of 10,000 to ambush and kill him. Two Mon military leaders, Phraya Kiat and
Phraya Ram, were ordered to attack Prince Naresuan’s troops and execute him
(Cushman 88).

However, the Great Holy Tera Khan Chong was informed of this treachery and took
pity on Prince Naresuan. He arranged a meeting between Phraya Kiat, Phraya Ram, and
Prince Naresuan in which all was revealed. As a result, Prince Naresuan declared
revenge and announced that the two kingdoms “shall be totally divorced from each other
from this day to the end of kalpa.” (Cushman 89). He promised to escort the two Mon
leaders and the Holy reverent to the safety of Ayutthaya – fighting together against the
Burmese along the way.

While leading the Great Holy Thera Khan Chong and his relatives - and the families of
Phraya Kiat and Phraya Ram - back to Ayutthaya, Prince Naresuan defeated the
enraged Burmese in battle and Ayutthaya became independent once again. King Maha
Thammaracha (1569-1590), the father of Prince Naresuan, rewarded the Mon families
in gratitude. Phraya Kiat and Phraya Phra Ram were directed to reside in the vicinity of
the Khamin Village and
Wat Khun Saen. The relatives of Tera Khan Chong were sent to
live in a village behind Wat Nok (Cushman 90). This Mon areas stretched all the way
from Wat Nok to
Wat Phong. It is highly likely that Thera Khan Chong served as the
abbot of Wat Nok.
Text & photographs by Ken May - August 2009
(View of Wat Nok)
(Remaining stucco work)
(Remaining stucco work)
Addendum

The Mon priest Thera Khan Chong did not serve as abbot of Wat Nok as written
above, but was installed at Wat Maha That. King Maha Thammaracha (r. 1569-1590)
had the Village Dwelling Sect split up in two assemblies being a Division of the Left and a
Division of the Right. Therea Khan Chong became the patriarch of the Division of the
Left, while the original patriarch Wannarat administered the other division. The relatives
of Thera Khan Chong were directed to live in the vicinity of a village behind the Nok
Monastery. [1]

"When the Royal Father and King Naresuan had finished making their plans
together, the King was pleased to have the great holy Thera Khan Chòng located
at Maha That Monastery as His Holiness Ariyawong, abbot of the Village Dwelling
Sect residing at Phra Si Rattana Maha That Warawihan Royal Monastery, and
bestowed on him a sappathon umbrella, a kanching umbrella, a palanquin,
bearers, rice, an annual bounty, and the various eight requisites of a Buddhist
monk.

Now, the King was pleased to have the position of His Holiness Wannarat, the
original Patriarch of the Village Dwelling Sect, administer only the Assembly of the
South as the Division of the Right; the separation of the Village Dwelling Sect into
two assemblies originated at that time and has continued right down to the
present."

In the Late Ayutthaya Period there were shops of Thai and Mon selling bowls, trays,
salvers and all kinds of brassware behind Wat Nok and in front of
Wat Phong. In the
area there was also a fresh market called the Mon Market. [2]

References:

[1] The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 90 /
Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat, Phra
Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph - Naresuan and Hongsawadi Fight, and
Naresuan Returns to Ayutthaya.
[2] Markets and Production in the City of Ayutthaya before 1767: Translation and
Analysis of Part of the Description of Ayutthaya - Chris Baker - Journal of the Siam
Society, Vol. 99, 2011 - page 65.
Addendum by Tricky Vandenberg - March 2013