WAT TUK (วัดตึก)
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 Tuk. The ubosot contains about a dozen
Buddha images in various poses. These are painted gold and look fairly new. Elephant
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 Tuk 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 jackfruit
tree hovers above the altar. An old well is also in situ.

The history of this monastery is unclear. Wat Tuk 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 Tuk. One
alternative theory is that King Sua enjoyed watching boat races from a mounded hill at
Wat Tuk, so this is how the monastery became associated with him.

Wat Tuk 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 Tuk, 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 Tuk 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 Tuk to restore some of the older structures on the premises.
Text & photographs by Ken May - September 2009
Addendum

The site is indicated on a mid-19th century map in an identical position as on Phraya
Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926.
Addendum & map by Tricky Vandenberg - April 2011
(Extract of a mid-19th century map)