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: ظ Discovering Ayutthaya ˹ 91-93
     ҭԷ ɵ óҸԡ



Phra Chedi Srisuriyothai


Phra Chedi Srisuriyothai topped with gold color is located on the western part of the city island on the Chao Phraya River. It is near the place called Hua Laem where is the confluence of the Chao Phraya River and the Lop Buri River or Khlong Muang. Opposite the chedi, there are Wat Kasatrathirat and Wat Thamaram which were also constructed in Ayutthaya period.


The chedi (pagoda) was built in twelve-indented corners in the same characteristics as those of Phra Chedi Phukhao Thong. Differently, on the canopies at the four directions of Phra Chedi Srisuriyothai, there were small pagodas on top of them.
Phra Chedi Srisuriyothai also influenced architecture in Bangkok during the
Chakri Dynasty. The stupa was served as the prototype for the chedi which King
Mongkut (Rama IV) constructed at Wat Pho (Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram in Bangkok), and it was one in the group of four chedis built at the temple in early Rattanakosin period.


The Thai Military Headquarters renovated Chedi Srisuriyothai in 1990. A number of valuable objects were found in a hole covered with cement on the throne over the post inside the chedi. The things mentioned were a Buddha image in quartz, a miniature quartz bell-shaped chedi, a hexagon-modeled chedi containing a hexagon-gilded cup with beads, gems and gold leaves. Nowadays, these items were kept at Mahathat Room in Chao Sam Phraya National Museum.
Ayutthaya Royal Chronicle mentioned that this chedi was built to contain the ashes of Phra Suriyothai, King Maha Chakkaphats queen who disguised as a male warrior and went to war against King Tabeng Chawetys troop of Burma at Phukhao Thong field. She was cut and died on elephant back. There was a royal crematory for her body in the garden at the back palace. Later, a chedi (pagoda) was built and the cremetory area was donated to construct a temple called Wat Suanluang Sobsawan.


However, according to history, there are some questions asking if it is belivable that the queen disguised herself as a man and went to war. It was also remarkable that the characteristics of chedi in twelve-indented corners was the style very popular in late Ayutthaya period or in the reign of King Boromakot, not the style in favor in mid Ayutthaya period or in the reign of King Maha Chakkraphat. Moreover, it is also remarkable that building the main chedi in Buddhist temples was for paying homage to Buddha, not for containing a persons ashes. The chedi should really have been used for containing Buddhas relics, and the chedi used to contain peoples ashes should not be the main chedi (pagogda) in a temple.
The renovation of Phra Chedi Srisuriyothai was done by the Thai Military Headquarters due to the fact that it is a very important ancient place which King Maha Chakkraphat built in memory of his beloved queen who devoted her life for him in a war against the Burmese in 1548. The renovation and the improvement of the chedi were finished in 1991.


When the renovation was finished, the Thai Military Headquarters aimed to situate a Buddha image at Phra Chedi Srisuriyothai. By the time, Queen Sirikit was going to be 60 years old in 1992; the Thai Military Headquarters asked Somdet Phra Yanasangworn, the Thai Supream Patriarch, to address the issue to the queen in order to model a Buddha image to dedicate the merit to Queen Suroyothai. Queen Sirikit was graciously pleased to the idea. Therefore, the Thai Military Headquarters carried on modeling the Buddha image, and the queen conferred the Buddhas image name Phra Buddha Suriyothai Siriki Theekhayu Mongkhol which means the Buddha in the merit for Somdet Phra Suriyothai and for the celebration of Queen Sirikits age (The Fine Arts department, the Important Images).


According to the study of Prof. Dr. Santi Leksukhum, it revealed that Phra Chedi Srisuriyothai should have been the oldest chedi in a squared shape with angles, and built in King Maha Chakkraphats reign by Ayutthaya carpenters who added angles to the pagoda. That was the pagoda in castle style and the bell-shaped chedi were mixed together into a new style of chedi. This became the unique style of chedi in Ayutthaya period (Thawatchai Ongwathiwet, Khumue Rianru Krung Si Ayutthaya).

Reference
Kasetsiri, Chanwit, editor. (n.d.). Discovering Ayutthaya, pp. 94-95.