Wat Kasattrathirat, Ayutthaya, Thailand
120 high-definition creative commons photographs from this old temple in Ayutthaya, Thailand, showing the fine architecture, Buddha statues and murals, together with further information.
Life of Buddha
Mainly Unidentified Murals
History of Wat Kasattrathirat Vorawihan
based on text in a book published by the temple, kindly translated by Mrs. Chanya P. Depaul
Detail of Francois Valentin's Map
with Wat Kasattrathirat circled
Wat Kasattrathirat is an ancient temple built during the Ayutthaya period. Originally it was called “Wat Kasattra” or “Wat Kasattraram”, which means: “the temple of the king”. There is no evidence who built this temple, but because of the name of the temple it is assumed that it must have been built or renovated by the king or at least by someone in the royal family. We should also note that it has double Ubosot markers, which is the sign of a Royally endowed temple.
In 1636 Francois Valentin, a Dutchman, drew a map of Ayutthaya, which may show the Wat standing in its present position. There is no proper identification of the Wat on the map, and formerly it was presumed by historians that is represented Wat Chaiwattanaram, but several factors to do with the design and positioning seem to point to it being Wat Kasattrathirat. If this is correct then the Wat was already well-established by the mid 17th century.
Some more evidence showing that it was built during the Ayutthaya period is that the name Kasattra is in a book about Ayutthaya history, saying: Taking a boat in one direction there is Wat Chairam (Wat Chaiwattanaram) and in the other direction is Wat Lodchong and then Wat Kasattraram.
According to this, we can understand that during the Ayutthaya period the area of Wat Kasattrathirat was located opposite Wang Lang (Wat Suan Luang) which is a well-known quay as many people use it to cross the river. There was a market there having many communities around and the book mentions many markets, etc.
Phra Ratcha Thanintarajan (Suchat Thanissaro)
Present Abbot of Wat Kasattrathirat
In Ayutthaya history, Panthumas issue (Jerm) refer to Kasattrathirat for the first time in 1760 in the period of Somdej Phra Tinang Suriyas Amarin where it says: “During the new moon in the 5th month of 1760, the Burmese came and stationed cannon in front of Wat Rachaplee and Wat Kasattra and attacked the town. The king took his elephants and having surveyed the area, gave an order to soldiers at hold the Wat Suan Luan Sopasawan and Mahachai fortifications until evening at which time the Burmese troops backed off to Wat Phu Khao Thong.”
The Wat is situated in Tambon Baan Pom, a name which has existed since the Ayutthaya period. King Chakkrapath wanted to build a fortification out of town in the west near the Chao Phraya River and he called it “Jampapol fortification”. It is located to the north of Wat Ta Ga Rong, opposite Wat Phu Khao Thong. There are still some small ruins there that can be seen up to now.
The local belief is that that the Burmese have had their base around here before the attack on Ayutthaya several times just as it is stated in the history books. All the evidence that we have shows that Wat Kasattrathirat must have been a well-known and important temple at the time.
Wat Kasattrathirat was probably seized and totally destroyed when Ayutthaya fell on 7th April 1767 or maybe even before that because the temple is not far from Wat Ta Ga Rong, Wat Lod Chong and Wat Vorachet which were the base camps of the Burmese. People must have been evacuated, and even monks could not stay at the temple anymore, so it became deserted for many years.
There are many ancient temples near Wat Kasattrathirat such as Wat Pa Sao (deserted), Wat Tammaram (Wat Tarama) and Wat Ta Ga Rong in the north; Wat Rachaplee (deserted), Wat Lod Chong, Wat Chaiwattanaram in the south. The one which is most similar to Wat Kasattrathirat is Wat Pa Sao, which is presently deserted.
Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu
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