Wat Mai or the New Monastery is a restored ruin located off the city island in the of
Khlong Sra Bua and Khlong Mueang (the old Lopburi River), opposite respectively Wat
Na Phra Men (active temple) and the Grand Palace (restored ruin).

The temple complex faces south towards the
Lopburi River as most of the temples along
this city canal. It is customary in South and South-east Asia that the monastic structures
are aligned in an east-west axis and that the principal building faces east, the direction of
the rising sun, and representation of life. In this case another important consideration
played a role which is, that a temple should face water, explained by the fact that the
Buddha attained enlightenment sitting under a Bo tree facing a river. [1] The temple can
face south, as the south has a neutral value in the cosmological alignment.

In situ are the remains of an ordination hall or ubosot (Th) and a number of satellite chedi
The monastery was surrounded by an outer wall. According to archaeological evidence,
the monastery dates from the Late Ayutthaya period (1629-1767) and could have been
in use even in the Early Ratanakosin (Bangkok period). [2]

Alfons Van der Kraan state in Ref [3] it was probably this temple that Jeremias Van
Vliet mentioned in his
Diary of the Picnic Incident, although - but less likely - it could
have been
Wat Mai (Wat Bang Kaja), which is indicated on Valentijn’s map (1726).
Less likely, because Wat Na Phra Men was known as a Royal cremation ground for the
highest rank, and the Phraya Nakhon Ratchasima (Oya Corassima - see text here
below) and his mother were likely related to the King. It could have been that Wat Mai
was used as a substitute of Wat Na Phra Men for the funeral rites of lower rank.

"On December 18 [1636], the Shahbandar, Olong Tsiut, and I went to the
Berckelang. Upon arrival, we (and everyone else who had some business there)
were told that His Honor had gone to the temple Watmoey to assist in the
cremation of the mother of the deceased Oya Corassima".

Historical data about the monastery and its construction are unknown.

The restored ruin of Wat Mai is located in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 42.23" N,
100° 33' 37.49" E.


[1] The Lord of the Golden Tower - Beth Fouser (1996) - page 36/37.
[2] Fine Arts Department (FAD) sign in situ.
[3] Van Vliet's Siam - Chris Baker, Dhiravat Na Pombejra, Alfons Van Der Kraan &
David K. Wyatt (2005) - page 71.
View of Wat Mai Khlong Sra Bua from the north
View of Wat Mai Khlong Sra Bua from the north
Text, maps & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - November 2009
Updated November 2020
(View of Wat Mai Khlong Sra Bua from the north)
(View of Wat Mai Khlong Sra Bua from the north)
Detail of a 19th century map
Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map - Anno 1926
Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map
(Detail of a 19th century map - Courtesy of the Sam
Chao Phraya Museum)
(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)
(Wooden door and decorative panels in Bangkok style (Rattanakosin art) dating back to the 19th century, originating from Wat Mai
Khlong Sra Bua. There are four doors (eight panels) kept at the
Chao Sam Phraya National Museum. The panels are adorned with
engravings of the Hibiscus Mutabilis, also known as the Confederate rose (Th: Phuttan) considered by the Chinese as an auspicious
flower; engraved Chinese vases, symbolising peaceful desire, as well as fretwork (interlaced decorative design carved in low relief on a
solid background) depicting the endless or eternal knot, being one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols. The panels contain also engraved
birds, squirrels and butterflies.)