|WAT TON SATU (วัดต้นสะตือ)
|Wat Ton Satu or the Monastery of the Stink Bean Tree is an active temple located north of Ayutthaya east of the Pho Sam Ton fields in Khayai
Sub-district of Bang Pahan in Ayutthaya Province. Wat Ton Satu is situated on the right bank of the new Lopburi River, a stretch of Khlong Ko
Loeng before and at the mouth of the defunct Khlong Chang, linking with Wat Dao Khanong.
Villagers of Pho Sam Ton came working the fields in this area and built shacks to stay during the day. In time more people came and stayed longer as
the location was close to a waterway and a good spot to buy and sell merchandise. As the housing expanded, the area became known as Ban
Khayai. Land was given for temple construction and a small monastery soon arose, called by the locals Wat Tha Khwai (Monastery of the Buffalo
Landing) as buffalo's came here to drink and bath.
The monastery was established as Wat Prasert Letsathaphon in 1862 AD on land given by Ta Yang (Grand Pa Yang). It received its boundary
stones three year later in 1865.
In the vicinity of the temple were three large Stink Bean trees (1) providing shade. Boat people on the way to Maha Rat and Bang Pahan moored in
this place on their way to Ayutthaya and back, calling the temple Wat Ton Satu. Over time the large trees disappeared through the erosion of the
river bank, but the name of Wat Ton Satu remained.
The monastery is situated in geographical coordinates: 14°24' 19.85" N, 100° 33' 26.62" E.
(1) Ton Satu (ต้นสะตือ) is called Petai or Stink Bean tree with the sciencetific name of Parka Speciosa (bitter bean, twisted cluster bean, or stink
bean). The latter is a plant of the genus Parkia in the family Fabaceae. The tree that is found throughout tropical South East Asia; in regions such as
peninsula Malaysia, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Thailand, Laos and Philippines. The Petai tree can grow 30 meters high. It bears flowers in a light-bulb
shaped mass at the end of long stalks. The flowers secrete a nectar that attracts bats and other pollinators. The tiny flowers mature and die. Long,
twisted, translucent pods emerge in a cluster of 7 or 8 pods. When those pods mature, the petai beans or seeds reside, the size and shape of plump
almonds which have a rather peculiar smell.
|Text & map by Tricky Vandenberg