|This active temple is located on U-Thong Road in the northwest corner of the island.
This area is known as the Hua Laem District. Khlong Mueang (the old Lopburi River)
passes nearby it.
There are two sermon halls in situ at Wat Tuek. The ubosot contains about a dozen
tusks are on display at the altar. There are also two statues to revered Monks near the
ubosot’s entrance. The second sermon hall is a vihan containing sword-welding statues
and some paintings of King Sua. Some gold painted Buddha images in various poses can
also to be seen. Beside a statue of King Sua, there are images of soldiers and an
elephant that have been partially covered with gold leaf. Most of these structures and
Buddha images appear to be recent constructions. In addition, there are several modern
shrines on site. These are monuments to Buddha, several revered monks, and some
Hindu deities. Near the entrance gate is a small wall that doubles as a shrine. This has a
niche containing a small, gold-painted, Buddha image in a Taming Mara pose. The
curved wall also has two scenes portraying battles on elephant back and small image of
Torrani washing her hair.
One of the most interesting sights at Wat Tuek is a preserved buffalo Cyclops. The one-
eyed calf’s body floats in a fish aquarium next to the sermon hall. Some locals believe
that this carcass can bring good luck or help predict fortunes. There are embalmed
crocodile at the same shrine. Some of these have been partially covered with gold leaf.
The remains of the ancient site can be found at the rear of the sermon hall. Monastery
walls are still visible along with an old sermon hall. The altar has some old fragments of
Buddha images mixed with some modern images that have been painted gold. A jack
fruit tree hovers above the altar. An old well is also in situ.
The history of this monastery is unclear. Wat Tuek is associated with King Sua (Luang
Sorasak), who reigned from 1703-1709. The Royal Chronicles state that this King
renovated a mondop for containing a footprint of the Holy Buddha. The mondop was
designed with five spires, an outer gable, and interstitial spires as well. When it was
finished, King Sua ascended to it in a holy Royal procession with the military in formation
by water and land routes (Cushman 384). However, there is no mondop in situ matching
this description, so the chronicles may not have been written in relation to Wat Tuek.
One alternative theory is that King Sua enjoyed watching boat races from a mounded hill
at Wat Tuek, so this is how the monastery became associated with him.
Wat Tuek is located near the Hua Laem military base, and this fact seems to have
contributed to its reestablishment as an active temple. Municipal offices in Ayutthaya
financed Wat Tuek, and private donations were only a small part of its income (Bunnag
206). Householder that lived on the monastery’s compound did not have to pay rent, but
were required to support the community when the need arises. In the late 1960s, the
head of the community at Wat Tuek was known for his capability in building up the
monastery. He attracted many monks to live there and traveled far and wide to raise the
funds for restoring monastery buildings (Bunnag 116). This leader was able to amass
40,000 Baht for the Kathin ceremony, which was a lot of money back then. These
donations have helped Wat Tuek to restore some of the older structures on the premises.
|Text & photographs by Ken May - September 2009
Wat Tuek has a pavilion dedicated to King Sua (r. 1703-1709) aka Phra Sri Sanphet
VIII of the Ban Phlu Luang Dynasty and his relationship with Phan Thai Norasing has
here been put in paint. Phan was a coxswain on the royal barge Ekkachai (Primary
Victory). In 1704 King Sua went fishing at the mouth of the Tha Jin River near Samut
Sakhon (1). His royal barge cut through the Khlong Khok (Ma)kham, a canal with
many bends. Phan unfortunately missed a bend and steered the royal barge against a tree
branch, with as result that the prow (likely the figure head) broke off and fell in the water.
Phan realized that he made a major offense against the law in vigour, jumped out of the
boat onto the river bank and prostrating himself, begged the king to behead him and to
set up a shrine on the place of incident. King Süa, liking the old man much, revoked the
punishment, but Phan Thai held on. The King then ordered his rowers to make a statue in
mud representing Phan, cut off the head of the statue and invited Phan back on board.
Alas, Phan kept on begging to be executed according to the royal decree. King Sua
pleaded numerous times in vain to get Phan back on board, but the latter refused and
wanted to die. The king ordered then the execution of Phan Thai and enshrined his head
and the (sacred) broken part of the prow. Thereafter the king ordered the Khok Kham
Canal straightened, but it was only in the reign of his successor that the canal was
finalized and renamed Maha Chai Canal. (2) The incident must have occurred in the
vicinity of present Wat Khok Kham.
(1) Municipality of Sakhònburi - Known before as Mueang Tha Jin (Chinese Harbour),
making reference to a port involved in trade with China and having a large Chinese
settlement. Sakhon Buri was established in the reign of King Chakkraphat (r. 1548 -
1569) around 1549 in reaction to the Burmese invasion of 1548, mainly for the purpose
of troop mobilization and area to gather provisions prior battle. After King Süa (r.
1703-1709) ordered the Maha Chai Canal dug, the town was called Maha Chai. During
an administrative reform in the reign of Rama VI, the town was named Samut Sakhon. 
(2) In 1705, King Süa (r. 1703-1709) ordered the digging of Khlong Khok (Ma)kham
to connect the Chao Phraya River with the Tha Jin River. The excavation work remained
unfinished after his death in 1709 AD. In 1721 his successor King Phumintharacha (r.
1709-1733) also called King Thai Sa, pushed forward to finish the canal. The remaining
part was dug 3 meters deep and 16 meters wide in over 2 months by 30,000 conscripted
men. The canal was later renamed Khlong Maha Chai. The canal eased the passage from
the Chao Phraya to the mouth of the Tha Jin at the Gulf of Thailand.
 Bhamorabutr, Abha. Ancient cities in Thailand, printed 2524 BE.
|Addendum & map by Tricky Vandenberg
Updated March 2016
|(Detail of a 19th century map - map is orientated S-N)
|(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)
|(Old wall of Wat Tuek)
|(Broken Buddha images on site)
|(The one-eyed calf)
|(King Sua pavilion)
|Detail of the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya
In 1066 of the Royal Era, a year of the monkey, sixth of the decade, His Majesty the Supreme Holy Lord of the Realm set out at that time with the
Holy Throne Barge Primary Victory on tour to go fishing at the mouth of the river of the Municipality of Sakhonburi. Now when the holy throne
barge reached the vicinity of Tamarind Knoll, the canal there was very crooked. Now Rear Phan Narasing, who had taken the helm of the holy
throne barge, did not cut the helm to compensate in time and the prow of that holy throne barge, ramming into a tree branch of great size, broke
off and fell [D: right] down into the water. Rear Phan Narasing, seeing such as that, was frightened. He thereupon leaped up out of the holy
throne barge and ascended onto the bank. Then he shouted, prostrating himself, to tell His Holy Compassion, "May the power of the soles in the
particles of dust of the Holy Feet [C: be on] [DF: cover] my head [F: and my pate]! Holy royal punishment overwhelms my head [F: and
overwhelms my pate]! I beseech the King to manifest His holy compassion by being pleased to have a shrine built here, approximately eye level in
height. Then [the King] must cut off the head of the Servant of the Holy Buddhist Lord and, along with the prow of the holy throne barge which
broke off and fell [CD: right] down [F: right] into the water, set them up together as an offering here, following the holy royal decree in the Code
for the Holy Public Prosecutors."
Thereupon a holy royal proclamation was issued, saying, "Old Rear Phan [D: Narasing]! That you sentence yourself to death is already pleasing
[to Us]. Nevertheless, this time I will revoke your punishment and already will not allow you to be punished. You must come back [CD: on board]
[F: to] the barge and accompany me! As for that prow of the barge which broke off, I already intend to rebuild it. You are forbidden to worry
about it at all."
Rear Phan Narasing thereupon prostrated himself and said to the King, "As for the King manifesting His holy compassion by being pleased not to
allow the Servant of the Holy Buddhist Lord to be punished - no limit can be found to His holy power and holy goodness. Nevertheless, [a pardon]
would destroy the system of customary practices in the holy royal decrees and laws. Now, that the Supreme Holy Lord Omnipotent would come to
ignoring the holy royal decrees for the realm like this, appears exceedingly [CF: improper] [D: inappropriate]. Much later on in the future it
appears that everyone will be able to slander, defame and insult [Your memory]. Now the Holy Lord Omnipotent [CF: must not manifest] [D: has
manifested] His holy attachment to the Servant of the Holy Buddhist Lord, [DF: this person] who is subject [D: further] to the death penalty
[CF: , at all]. [The King] must manifest His holy attachment to the holy royal traditions. To prevent the system of customary practices from being
destroyed is better. That holy royal decree coming down from ancient times says: 'Now if any rear phan takes the helm of a holy throne barge and
allows the prow of that holy throne barge to break off, Their Worships say that [CF: rear phan] [D: person] is subject to the death penalty and
his head is to be cut off.' Now the Holy Lord Omnipotent must manifest His holy compassion by being pleased to have the head of the Servant of
the Holy Buddhist Lord cut off in accordance with that ancient royal decree!"
Thereupon a holy royal order was issued commanding all the oarsmen to mould dirt into a statue of Rear Phan Narasing. Then they were
accordingly ordered to cut off the head of that earthen statue. Then the King said, "Old Rear Phan [D: Narasing]! As for your punishment of [D:
already] being sentenced to die - I [C: will] have [F: accordingly] already cut off enough of your life through [CF: a] [D: your] substitute to fit
the occasion. You are forbidden to die at all. Come back on board the barge and go on [CD: along] [D: together] with me!"
Rear Phan Narasing, seeing such as that, felt much shame because he was afraid that [the subterfuge] would destroy the holy royal decrees
according to the [DF: system of] ancient customary practices. Fearing everyone would be able to slander, defame and insult his Supreme Holy
Lord Omnipotent, he strove to sacrifice his own life without regret. He thereupon prostrated himself and [CF: went on to say] [D: said] to the
King, "Begging the holy royal indulgence - as the King has manifested His holy compassion by favoring the Servant of the Holy Buddhist Lord
[CF: in all this] [D: on this occasion], no limit can be found to His holy power and holy goodness. Nevertheless, beheading an earthen statue as a
substitute for the person of the Servant of the Holy Buddhist Lord like this, looks [CF: to be] [D: like] play-acting. Everyone will be able to
slander and defame [the King]. I beseech His Holiness to manifest His holy compassion by being pleased to [CF: cut off the head of] [D: behead]
the Servant of the Holy Buddhist Lord [CF: in a real manner] [D: for real]! Do not let the system of customary practices within the holy royal
decrees be destroyed at all. The Servant of the Holy Buddhist Lord [CF: would beg] [D: begs] to prostrate himself and entrust his children and
wife [to the King’s care]. Then he would accordingly prostrate himself to render homage and take his leave to die according to those
specifications for proper punishment which he prostrated himself to inform the King about."
The Supreme Holy Lord of the Realm, having listened to such as that, went on pleading with him [CF: for] numerous times. Rear Phan Narasing,
however, would not agree to live. The Supreme Holy Lord Omnipotent manifested the state of His holy grand compassion towards Rear Phan
Narasing to a great extent until He was unable to hold back the tears in [CD: those] [F: the] holy eyes. It being necessary to comply with the holy
royal decree, the King thereupon [CD: ordered] [F: gave the order for] the master executioner to execute Rear Phan Narasing. Then He had a
shrine built, [D: approximately] eye level in height, and had the head of Rear Phan Narasing and that prow of the holy throne barge which had
been broken off, set up in sacrifice together in that shrine. Then He had the holy throne barge depart to tour and angle at the mouth of the river of
the Municipality of Sakhonburi. Then His Majesty returned to the Holy Grand Metropolis. [CF: Now] [D: Afterwards], that shrine of the
guardian god at the Vicinity of Tamarind Knoll [CF: has] accordingly survived to be seen right down to this very day.
The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 393 / Source: British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat & Royal Autograph - Luang
Sorasak (King Sua) and King Thai Sa.
|WAT TUEK 2 (วัดตึก)
|(Ground plan of Wat Tuek)