|WAT THA SAI 1 (วัดท่าทราย)
|This temple ruin is located on the city island along U-Thong Road. It is situated near
the bridge that crosses Khlong Mueang toward Wat Wong Khong. Although it could be
technically classified as a ruin, Wat Tha Sai is now considered part of Wat Racha
Praditsathan’s property. The latter is an active monastery.
Wat Tha Sai was located next to Khlong Pratu Khao Pluak, which once separated it
from Wat Rachapraditsathan (on the opposite side of the canal). This canal has been
filled in for the most part, leaving a small pond on the premises. Traces of a fortress (Pom
Khao Pluak) and a water gate (Pratu Khao Pluak) can still be seen in situ.
There are many ancient architectural structures on site. The central chedi resembles a
style most commonly associated with the Haripunchai Kingdom. The chedi takes the
shape of an octagonal tower with multiple arched niches that hold standing Buddha
images - several of which can still be seen today. This style of chedi can be seen in
Lamphun, which suggests that this monastery might have had some connection with the
Lanna kingdom. There are at least three chedi in Ayutthaya with a similar style: Wat
Sangkha Tha in the Queen Srinakarin Park, WatSangkha Pat in the Ayutthaya Historic
Park, and one inside the boundary walls of Wat Maha That.
In the location where the original sermon hall would have been is an open-air shrine
containing several rows of beautiful, white-painted, mediating Buddha images. A
makeshift tin roof was constructed in situ, but it collapsed due to a major wind storm in
July, 2009. Unfortunately, the collapsed roof caused major damage to the Buddha
images and several chedi, and it will require significant funding to make repairs.
Also is situ at Wat Tha Sai are several bell-shaped chedi and dozens of memorial
monuments (with a surprisingly large amount of Chinese headstones). An old ubosot
stands to the south of the shrine, part of its tiled roof still intact. A second building rests
behind it. Although badly dilapidated and covered in graffiti, inside the second structure,
there are the remains of several Buddha images within arched niches. Wat Tha Sai has
also several shrines including a reclining Buddha image. A large modern mondop covered
in brown tiles really stands out on the premises, but this is usually closed to public viewing.
The history of Wat Tha Sai is unclear. In the Ayutthaya period, Wat Tha Sai was an
important ferry crossing point that was connected to Wat Wong Khong on the other side
(Kasetsiri & Hedges 329). This monastery was set in a prime location because of it
access to the water gate in front of Khlong Pratu Khao Pluak. Royal Chronicles point out
that enemy troops from Lawaek - Cambodia - were posted at Wat Rong Khong
Monastery in 1570 (Cushman 77). Some sources say that Wat Tha Sai also played a
role in this war with Lawaek troops. Locals have claimed that the enemy fired rounds
toward the fortress next to Wat Tha Sai and attempted to collapse the walls in front of
this monastery. However, more investigation needs to be made about this claim.
|(Buddha image in the location of the former vihara)
|(Reclining Buddha behind a monastic structure)
|(Satellite chedi on the premises of Wat Tha Sai)
|(Storm damage in July 2009)
|Addendum & maps by Tricky Vandenberg - December 2015
|(Detail of a 19th century map - Courtesy of the Sam
Chao Phraya Museum - 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)
|(Text by Ken May - August 2009)