|WAT PHRAYA KONG (วัดพรญากง)
|This temple ruin is located off the main island in the southern area. It is hidden in a
dense jungle-like forest and surrounded by rice fields. There are no villages or landmarks
nearby. Its remote location makes it one of the most difficult temples to find in the city.
Use extreme caution while hunting for this site. There are many poisonous snakes in the
There are at least two distinct structures and a surprisingly large number of Buddha
images in situ. The location of the statues in close proximity suggests that the monastery
had a gallery hall of some sort. Some of these images are quite large, and most of them
have been carved from stone by hand - in contrast to the brick and mortar style used at
other temples. Some heads are still intact, but looting is evident. A few have had their
faces sliced off leaving only a portion of the head.
One unexcavated building has several walls supporting it. There are traces of stucco
decorations, but the heavy vegetation makes an obstacle for getting a closer look. The
structure appears to be a preaching hall; however, the roof has collapsed and filled in
with debris over the years. Much of it is still buried underground. A second structure
appears to be a square-like chedi with multiple layers. Most of it has been buried by a
mound of soil, heavy vegetation, and other debris. It is possible to climb to the top of this
structure. Its roof has caved in leaving a big indentation. On the western side there
appears to be a large hole, but it is difficult to ascertain if it was dug by looter or an actual
entrance. Wat Phraya Kong has many other unexcavated mounds in situ that could be the
remains of smaller collapsed chedi.
More excavation is necessary to understand the layout of Wat Phraya Kong. The
monastery has an east/west alignment. Boundary walls can be seen in a few places. Many
of these brick have a different color and density than the ones normally found at other
temples in Ayutthaya. One mystery is why this monastery was constructed at this remote
location. The Chao Phraya River is several kilometers away. There isn't any clear
evidence of an ancient canal leading to the monastery; however, a small lake has formed
to its north. This may have provided some access at one time.
The history or this monastery is unknown. A map hanging on a wall in the Ayutthaya
Historical Study Center suggests that Wat Phraya Kong predated the establishment of
the city in 1350. The evidence for this claim is uncertain, but the presence of a large
number of laterite blocks (some of rather enormous size) suggests a Khmer background
– and it is generally believed that a small military outpost from Lopburi settled in this city
prior to King U-Thong’s arrival (Kasetsiri 75-89).
|Text by Ken May - August 2009
Wat Phraya Kong was revisited in July 2010. This temple stood once on the northern
border of the Portuguese enclave. The site has been altered, as a small meditation center
is being developed in situ by a Buddhist priest. The location has been cleared and
wooden resting places erected near the ruins of the former monastery.
The monastery stood probably on a cross road of canals linking the Chao Phraya,
Khlong Khu Cham and Wat Phraya Phan. On the 1944 aerial picture of the area
(Williams-Hunt Collection), the canals linking the Chao Phraya River to the north and
east, still can be observed as well as the moat surrounding the monastic complex.
Wat Phraya Kong is mentioned on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926.
The monastery is named after one of the main actors in the legend of the building of Phra
Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom. The story finds place in the Dvaravati period 7th-11th
century A.D, when Nakhon Pathom was still a coastal city in the Gulf of Thailand. The
history of Phra Pathom Chedi is differently narrated and recorded. It goes mainly as
follows: Phraya Kong was the ruler of an area around present Nakhon Chaisri (1). The
ruler of Rat Buri was tributary to Nakhon Chaisri. Phraya Kong's queen became
pregnant and the royal soothsayer predicted that if the child was a son, he would kill his
father and take the throne. Like Moses, the newborn was placed in a tray in the river and
A woman called Yai Hom (grandmother Hom), raising ducks along the river, found the
baby and called him Phan. Phan grew up as an intelligent man, became a favorite of the
ruler of Rat Buri and finally was adopted as his son.
Phan, seeing the yearly tributes of gold and silver presented to the ruler of Nakhon
Chaisri, offered to wage war against the latter to set Rat Buri free. The ruler of Rat Buri
consented and Phan with a large army, attacked Nakhon Chaisri. Phan invested the city,
killed his father Phraya Kong and tried to take the queen for his wife. The queen
recognized her son at a scar in his forehead and Phan finally discovered the truth.
Enraged he killed Hom, the woman he was raised by, for not telling him the fact.
Becoming suddenly conscious of his wrong actions, Phraya Phan ordered the
construction of two stupa in an act of expiating his sins; one stupa in memory of his father,
the Phra Pathom Chedi (the First Stupa) and the Phra Prathon Chedi for Yai Hom.
Why this temple south of Ayutthaya received the name Phraya Kong and why we have
adjacent a temple called Phraya Phan? Was there any relationship with Nakhon Pathom?
Two stone Buddha heads were found at an antique dealer's shop in 1958. The heads
were apparently unearthed under dubious conditions some time before in Wat Phraya
Kong. The two heads belonged to two of the four large Buddha images of the stupa (in
an original arrangement four Buddhas were seated around a central structure) of Wat
Phra Men in Nakhon Pathom.
Dhanit Yupho, Director-General of the Fine Arts Department in the 1960s, was of the
opinion that two of the large Buddhas of Wat Phra Men (ancient Nakhon Chaisri) were
moved from Nakhon Pathom to Ayutthaya, during the reign of either King Ramathibodi I
(r. 1350-1369) or King Ramathibodi II (r. 1491-1529). At the establishment of
Ayutthaya and the construction of many new temples, there was a need for ancient
Buddha statues. In the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya we read that in 1431 AD, King
Borommaracha II (r. 1424-1448) seized Nakhon Luang (Angkor) and brought all of the
images to Ayutthaya to have them installed at the Maha That and Phra Sri Sanphet
Monasteries.  Dhanit refers to the Early Ratanakosin period in which King Rama I
moved hundreds of statues from Sukhothai and the northern regions to have them
installed in the temples of the new capital. Other fragments of the stone images were
spotted in Ayutthaya. The Fine Arts Department reassembled the scattered fragments
and filled in the missing parts with plaster. One of the Buddha images is today on display
in the Chao Sam Phraya Museum, while the others are respectively in the Bangkok
National Museum (1) and at Phra Pathom Chedi (one at the southern entrance and the
second in the ubosot). 
Revisited the site in April 2013. The area is slowly turned into a small meditation center.
A modern structure has been set up in place since our last visit in 2010. Workers were
constructing a new brick platform on the main mound. Pieces of broken Buddha images
were used to be cemented on top of the pedestal, while the main mound was clearly
opened up as many old bricks were shattered along the sides. Pictures of last visit were
added to the slide show.
The site is located in geographical coordinates: 14° 20' 20.07" N, 100° 34' 13.36" E.
(1) Following the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya King Chakkraphat (r. 1548-1569)
established Nakhon Chaisri by joining some parts of Rat Buri and Suphan Buri. 
The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 15 / Source:
Luang Prasoet, Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat & Royal
Autograph - King Boromracha II, 1424-1448.
 Iconographical Issues in the Archeology of Wat Phra Men Nakhon Pathom - Nicolas
Revire - JSS Vol 98 (2010) - page 83-4.
 The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 41 /
Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat, Phra
Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph
|Addendum, maps & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - July 2010
Updated March 2015
|(One of the four Buddhas of Wat Phra Men in
Nakhon Pathom at the Chao Sam Phraya Museum
- reassembled from pieces found at Wat Phraya
|(Remaining structure at Wat Phraya Kong)
|(Buddha image fragments in situ)
|(Brick structure at Wat Phraya Kong)
|(Brick remains at Wat Phraya Kong)
|(Buddha image fragments in situ)
|(Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map - Anno
|(Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map -
Courtesy of the Fine Arts Department - 3th Region)