WAT PHRAYA PHAN (วัดพระยาพาน)
Wat Phraya Phan is located south off the city island. This abandoned ruin lies on an
upraised hill that is surrounded by water and heavy vegetation. To find it, follow the dirt
road leading west from the
Dominican Portuguese settlement. It is slightly north of
Yamarun Islam Mosque. This ruin can also be accessed from the sealed road on its
opposite side, but this approach is usually too flooded and swampy. Wat Phraya Phan
can only be visited a few months each year without major difficulty.

Describing the temples layout is problematic without further excavations and the removal
of enormous amounts of vegetation. Nevertheless, Wat Phraya Phan is clearly designed
on an east/west axis. In situ are traces of at least one collapsed chedi as well as its spire.
There are some leftover Buddha images and many pottery shards (most of which are
made from terra cotta). A large number of bricks and tile can be found all over this
temple island. There is also evidence of other structures on site. Many mounds are
covered by trees that hint of possible chedi encased within. The Fine Arts Department
has done some minor excavation, leaving a series of one meter deep holes.

There was once had a moat encircling Wat Phraya Phan. It was connected to a canal
system that ran from the Jesuit Portuguese settlement and
Wat Jae(ng), making a turn at
Wat Phraya Phan, and then heading toward the Chao Phraya River near the Dominican
Portuguese settlement. This canal system essentially framed the land where the
Portuguese were once concentrated. It clearly appears on
Simon de La Loubère’s 1691
map. Wat Phraya Phan may have had some historic connection to the  Portuguese
camps, perhaps providing a place to worship for Buddhist laborers.

A number of deep trenches have been dug to the south of this monastery. It is not sure
what function these served. They may have been used for some agricultural purpose, but
this area remains unused and overgrown with a forest today.

This history of Wat Phraya Phan is unknown. There is no mention of this monastery in
the Royal Chronicles. Nevertheless, it is worth pointing out that King Chettathirat (r.
1628-1629) had a second son named Phra Phan Pi Si San (Cushman 210). In the
process of usurping the throne, King Prasat Thong had the king and both his sons
executed. More research would be needed to determine if there is any connection
between the two names.
Brick and tile remnants in situ
Text & photographs by Ken May - Aug 2009
Brick and tile remnants in situ
Terra cotta remnants and pieces of broken sema

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 7-11th
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
left abandoned.

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.

The site is located in Geo Coord: +14° 20' 0.97" N, +100° 34' 14.58" E.

Footnotes:

(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. [1]

References:

[1] The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 41 /
Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat, Phra
Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph
Addendum by Tricky Vandenberg - March 2013
Updated April 2013, March 2015
(Brick and tile remnants in situ)
(Brick and tile remnants in situ)
(Terra cotta remnants and pieces of broken sema)
Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map
(Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map -
Courtesy of the Fine Arts Department - 3th Region)