|WAT BOROMMAWONG (วัดบรมวงศ์)
|Wat Borommawong Isarawararam (Woraviharn) is located off the city island along
the west bank of the new Lopburi River in the northeastern area of Ayutthaya. It is
situated in Suan Phrik sub-distruct in the vicinity of the elephant kraal along the road
leading from the kraal towards the Asian Highway. The temple is in use by the Buddhist
The main monastic structures, next to multiple other structures from recent time, are the
ordination hall with chedi and a vihara to commemorate King Rama V. Foundations of
ruins are visible to the south of the ordination hall. They are overgrown by trees and
protected by a low wall.
The location where the temple resides was called in earlier times Thamle Ya or the grass
locality, as the whole area was as a large grass field. The temple was first called Wat
Thamle Ya in reference to its locality, but soon changed by the local population into Wat
Thale Ya or the Monastery of the Sea of Grass.
After the first fall of Ayutthaya, King Maha Thammaracha (1569-1590) ordered the old
elephant kraal near Wat Song to be moved to the present site and a canal dug from "Tha
Chang" (Elephant Landing) towards the old Lopburi River, presently called Khlong Hua
The monastery survived the siege of Ayutthaya by the Burmese in 1767, as it was never
left by the monks and continued being occupied by the Buddhist Sangkha during the
Ratanakosin period (1782 onwards).
The Royal family line of sponsors of this temple met her end at the fall of Ayutthaya in
1767. The Chronicles state that a large part of the Royal lineage was "rounded up and
removed" to Ava. Nobody took care for the monastery's repair or its renovation and it
decayed slowly over time.
In 1876 Somdet Phra Chao Borommawong (1) was looking into the issue of repairing
the elephant kraal and discovered "Wat Thale Ya" not so far away from the kraal.
Borommawong found the monastery in a very bad shape and decided to sponsor the
restoration of the temple. He offered the temple to King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910)
(Rama V), who bestowed a new name on the temple naming it Wat Borommawong
Isarawararam, its present name.
Somdet Phrachao Borommawong died in 1901. Between this time and 1908 a lot of
infra-structural changes occurred. New shelters for the monks (kuti) were built; a large
pond was dug out, while the canal in the North giving out into the Lopburi River - Khlong
Nam Ya -, was repaired and widened over 200 m, making the monastery easier to be
accessed by boat. All these works were overseen by King Chulalongkorn.
Wat Borommawong is a Royal temple of fourth grade in the second class following a
ranking system for royal temples that was initiated in 1913. It has the suffix Woraviharn
added to its name. The ordination hall of Royal temples has double boundary stones or
"Bai sema" around it structure. This monastery follows the old school, still being the
majority in the country, called Maha Nikaya (meaning the Great Sect).
In 1916 restoration occurred at the vihara and the ordination hall, which walls where
showing large cracks at that time.
More infrastructure works were done in 1960. The western vihara was turned in a
commemoration vihara for King Chulalongkorn. The Trimuk or three-gabled roof
vihara is beautiful decorated and contains a large number of photographs of the members
of the Royal family during the reign of King Rama V.
Wat Thale Ya was notorious as it was part of a battlefield in 1760. The Burmese King
Alaungpaya was very ambitious to subjugate the territories formerly occupied by his
predecessors. An excuse was quickly found to start a war with Siam and the Burmese
King was invading the country from the south. Little resistance was set up and we found
Alaungpaya soon encamped near the City of Ayutthaya.
The consternation was total at Ayutthaya: Prince Uthumphon, the younger brother of the
King, was recalled from the Pradu Songtham Monastery in order to prepare the city for
a siege. The Burmese vanguard set up camp North of Ayutthaya, on the west bank of the
Chao Phraya River.
The Chinese Luang Aphai Phiphat organized an army of 2000 Chinese men and moved
forward to erect a stockade, north of the city in the area of Pho Sam Ton (Three Fig
Trees) across Khlong Chang (2). Mun Thep Sena with 1000 Siamese troops had to
reinforce and assist the Chinese Brigade. He encamped near Wat Thale Ya (later named
Wat Borommawong) in the Thale Ya area.
The Burmese front brigade master Maeng La Maeng Khong saw the Chinese
preparations for a stockade and acted swift. He crossed the Chao Phraya River and with
his troops attacked the Chinese still busy with their stockade preparations. The Chinese
Brigade was routed pushed into the old Lopburi River (actual Khlong Bang Khuat -
Khlong Hua Ro) and fled to the opposite site of the river. The Burmese Cavalry drove
their horses over the river and killed the Chinese in the water and on the riverbanks. The
remaining Chinese troops were chased right up to the Siamese troops of Mun Thep
Sena. The latter failed to advance and to reinforce the withdrawing Chinese troops. The
Siamese troops at their turn were routed in the vicinity of the Thale Ya Monastery and
were killed in great numbers. The remaining men fled back into the city.
The Burmese troops advanced until the Hua Ro area. They installed stockades at the
Elephant Kraal, Wat Sam Wihan and Wat Chedi Daeng; and prepared a siege of
The city of Ayutthaya escaped destruction at that time. King Alaungpaya fired himself a
cannon positioned in the vicinity of Wat Na Phra Men, to shoot into the Royal Palace.
Unfortunately for him the cannon burst (they had sometimes the luminous idea to load
two cannon balls instead of a single) and he got seriously wounded. Shortly after, he
decided to withdraw. Alaungpaya died from his wounds at Taikkala before reaching the
Salween River. (3)
(1) Somdet Phrachao Borommawong Malakrom Phraya Bamrap Ponpak Chaokrom
(2) Khlong Chang was a canal which connected the old Lopburi River (now called
Khlong Ban Muang) at Wat Dao Khanong in Bang Pahan district with the new Lopburi
River at Wat Ton Satu in the same district. Until the late 1940’s the area was sealed with
Sao Thalung, the same wooden poles used at the Elephant Kraal. Elephants were driven
from Wat Dao Khanong along Khlong Chang to Wat Ton Satu; and from there straight
into the Elephant kraal.
(3) Burmese history does not recount this issue, but alleges Alaungpaya died from a
disease caused by a carbuncle.
 The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 481, 482 /
Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat & Royal Autograph.
 A History of Siam - W.A.R. Wood (1924) - Chalermnit Press - page 241, 242.
|Text & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - June 2009
Reviewed 9 May 2011
|(View North side)
|(The ordination hall)
|(Rama V Commemoration hall)
|(View north side)
|(View north side)
|(View south side)
|(Rama V Commemoration hall)
|(Monastic structure in the complex)
|(Buddha image in the ubosot)
|(Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map -
Courtesy of the Fine Arts Department - 3th Region)