|WAT MAI BANG KAJA (วัดใหม่บางกะจะ)
|Wat Mai or the New Monastery is located off the city island in the southern area of
Ayutthaya in Samphao Lom Sub-district. The monastery is strategically situated on the
confluence of the Chao Phraya River and the (new) Pa Sak River, just opposite the
Phet Fortress and the old harbour. Wat Nang Kui is situated on its northwestern side. On
its east on the opposite side of the river stands Wat Phanan Choeng.
The original name was Wat Bang Kaja, but the temple decayed and was rebuilt, hence
the name the New Monastery or Wat Mai.
Wat Mai is used by the Buddhist clergy. In situ is a classic temple consisting of an
ordination hall (ubosot), a large chedi and a vihara. The large chedi belongs to the vihara.
The ubosot, built in Early Ayutthaya style (1351 - 1488 AD), stands in a strange
north-south axis position, rather unusual as monastic buildings are almost build on an
east-west axis, while the main Buddha image is looking into the direction of the rising sun.
Kaca village is mentioned in the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya. In 1549, after King
Chakkraphat (r. 1548-1569) came on the throne of Ayutthaya in an unstable period,
Burma seeing its chance to conquer the Siamese city state, invested Ayutthaya. Patani,
being a vassal state, sent down a naval force in assistance of Ayutthaya. The chronicles
mention that the Patani fleet anchored in front of the Bang Kaja Monastery. 
At that moment the Phraya Sultan of Tani brought his naval force of two hundred
yayap boats in to assist the government in the war. On arrival they anchored
[BDEF: in front of] [C: at] the Kutbangkaca Monastery.
The Chronicles found at the British Museum state that in year 924 of the Chula Sakarat
(1) King Maha Thammaracha (r. 1569 - 1590) ] had the moat by the front ramparts
on the east dug ten wa (2) wide and three wa deep from the Maha Chai Fort at the Back
Palace (3) down to connect with Kaca village. 
In 924, a year of the dog, fourth of the decade, the King had the Royal Metropolis
renovated. He had the moat by the front ramparts on the east dug ten wa wide and
three wa deep from the Maha Chai Fort at the Back Palace down to connect with
Kaca Village [Canal?]. Then he had the city walls moved out to the banks of the
river, the outer limit of the Royal Metropolis, and connected with the Maha Chai
Fort, and from the Maha Chai Fort connected down to the Phet Fort.
The important Nam Won Bang Kaja floating market (4), situated near the anchorage
for foreign boats and junks, was held in the vicinity of this temple, at the whirlpool (5) of
Bang Kaja in front of Wat Chao Phanan Choeng. It was a densely populated area close
to many floating markets and gathering grounds. 
Wat Bang Kaja is indicated on François Valentyn's map (1724-6) Groote Siamse
Rievier Me-Nam Of Te Moeder Der Wateren In haren loop met de vallende
Spruyten Verbeeld as Wat May. (6)
The site is indicated on a mid-19th century map as Wat Mai Bang Kraja and on Phraya
Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926 as Wat Mai.
Wat Mai Bang Kaja is located in Geo Coord: 14° 20' 41.13" N, 100° 34' 28.76" E.
(1) See definition of Chula Sakarat in Siampedia. The Prasoet Luang Chronicle states
these works were done in 942 CS, being 1580 AD, a date generally accepted.
(2) See definition of Wa in Siampedia
(3) Now called Wang Na or Front Palace.
(4) The Nam Won Bang Kaja floating market was one of the four large floating markets
on the river around Ayutthaya. 
(5) The confluence of the Chao Phraya and Pa Sak rivers, in front of Phet Fortress and
Wat Phanan Choeng, has been historically notorious for whirlpools (Th: Nam Won)
during the rainy season.
(6) Translated: The Great Siamese River Me-Nam or Mother of Waters depicted in
her course with its tributaries.
 The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 49 /
Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat, Phra
Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph. - The Rebellion of Pattani.
 The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 82 /
Source: British Museum.
 Discovering Ayutthaya - Charnvit Kasetsiri & Michael Wright (2007) - page 271.
 Valentyn, François - Oud en Nieuw Oost Indiën (1626) - Deel 3 - Boek 6 -
Beschryvinge van Siam en onsen Handel aldaar.
 Phanna phumisathan Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya: Ekasan jak Ho Luang -
Geographical description of Ayutthaya: Documents from the palace - Dr. Vinai
Pongsripian - Bangkok, Usakane, n. d. (2007) - page 84.
|Text & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - September 2009
Reviewed June 2011, March 2014
|(View of the ordination hall)
|(View of the old wall of the vihara)
|(View of the vihara in construction)
|(Old Buddha head in situ)
|(Old Chedi at wat Bang Kaja)
|(Detail of Engelbert Kaempfer's draft map made Anno 1690, part of the Sloane collection.
Wat Mai Bang Kaja and its floating market is clearly visible on this map)
|(Detail of François Valentyn's map “Groote Siamse Rievier Me-Nam Of Te Moeder Der
Wateren In haren loop met de vallende Spruyten Verbeeld” as part of his work "Oud en
Nieuw Oost Indiën". Wat Mai Bang Kaja is indicated at No 51, opposite the Dutch
Settlement at No 53)