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: ظ Discovering Ayutthaya ˹ 88-90
     ҭԷ ɵ óҸԡ



Wat Phukhao Thong


Chedi Phukhao Thong (Phukhao Thong Stupa) is a grand stupa located outside Khrung Si Ayutthaya Island about 2 kilometers in the northwest. It is 90 meters high, but the stupa at Wat Yai Chaimongkhol in the southeast outside the city island is 2 meters higher than that of Wat Phukhao Thong.


It was said in the Ayutthaya chronicle that Wat Phukhao Thong was constructed in the reign of King Ramesuan or in early Ayutthaya period, but the details of construction was not mentioned. It was also stated that when King Burengnong got victory over Ayutthaya in the first war in 1569, he commissioned constructing a chedi to cover the oirignal one, but the details about the form of the chedi was not mentioned.


Chedi Phukhao Thong that we see nowadays might have been renovated and made it higher during the reign of King Maha Thamma Racha to the reign of King Pate-Racha (During 1569 1703), and the grand renovation was done again in the reign of King Boromakot or in the late Ayutthaya period. The renovation comprised constructing four-leveled bases in a squared form. The first level is 69 X 69 meters; the second level is 63 X 63 meters; the third level is 49.4 X 49.4 meters; and the fourth level is 32.4 X 32.4 meters. There is a stair case on each side of the chedi, and the stairs run to the top of it. On the fourth level of the bases, there is a squared base inside a tunnel used to situate a Buddha image. Higher than that level, there was an octagonal base, a bell-shaped structure, throne, plong chanai (a part of Thai stupa), plee yod (a top part of Thai chedi), and a glass ball. The original chedi was trumbled down since early Rattanakosin period. When Field Marshall Por Phibulsongkhram was the Prime Minister in 1956, he assigned making a ball made of gold weighing 2,500 kilograms and put in the chedi. This means the renovation to celebrate 25th anniversary of the Buddha Era in Thailand.


Wat Phukhao Thong was located on an area that was surrounded by flooded land, and it was also the war field between Ayutthaya troops and Burmese troops in both wars till Ayutthaya was defeated. In a war before Ayutthaya was firstly defeated, a canal (khlong) called Maha Nak was dug for good communication between Ayutthaya, Lob Buri River and Wat Phukhao Thong.


The ruins of a wall surrounded the religious area with 688 meters long is still seen. From the gate in the east with a road appeared at the present was originally the base of a small wihan. Next to it was a big chapel (Ubosot, measuring 11 X 40 meters). In front of the big chapel, there are four chedi (stupas) with twelve-indented corners in complete forms. They shows the end of the religious area. Next to it was monks area.


After Ayutthaya was completely destroyed in the second time, Wat Phukhao Thong had been deserted, but the main chedi has still been interested by Buddhists who still come to pay homage. An example is from Sunthorn Phus work, Niras Phukhao Thong (A trip to Phukhao Thong) written about Sunthorn Phus paying homage to the Chedi in the reign of King Nangklao, the third king of Rattanakosin. Monks have stayed in the temple again since 1957. Nowadays, on the road leading to the temple, there is a monument of King Naresuan riding a horse. It is also a sacred place and a new tourist site.

Reference
Kasetsiri, Chanwit, editor. (n.d.). Discovering Ayutthaya, pp. 88-90.