The Chedi Stupa Pagoda of Nakhon Pathom

Wat Bang Phra Temple วัด บาง พระ

Wat Paniangdaek in Nakhon Pathom

Sri Maha Po Thai Temple

Phra Pathom Chedi

This is a first class royal monastery. The temple houses Phra Pathom Chedi, the largest pagoda in Thailand. Phra Pathom Chedi is the official provincial symbol of Nakhon Pathom.

The present Phra Pathom Chedi was built during the reign of King Rama IV in 1853, under his royal command, the new Chedi was constructed to cover the former Chedi of which the shape was of an upside down bell shape with a Prang top.

It is assumed that the former Chedi dates back to the year 539 AD due to the fact that the upside down bell shaped Chedi has a similar style to the Sanchi Chedi in India which was built in the reign of King Asoka.

The construction of the new huge Chedi was completed in the reign of King Rama V in 1870 AD. In all, it took 17 years to build.

The completed Chedi is a circular one that features an upside down bell shape Chedi (Lankan style).

The height from ground to a top crown is some 120.45 metres, and a total diameter at the base is 233.50 metres.

The sacred Chedi houses Lord Buddha’s relics. During the reign of King Rama VI, Wat Phra Pathom was renovated and later the temple became the royal temple of King Rama VI.

Within the monastery compound, there are various interesting historical items, including the Phra Ruang Rodjanarith (พระร่วงโรจนฤทธ์), an image of Buddha bestowing pardon, is enshrined in a vihara located to the North and in front of Phra Pathom Chedi.

The casting of this Buddha image was casted during the reign of King Rama VI: the image’s head, hand, and feet were brought from Muang Srisatchanalai, Sukhothai.

Under royal command, a wax sculpture of the Buddha image was moulded. The casting process was held at Wat Phra Chettuphon in 1913. Later, the Buddha image was enshrined in the vihara, located on the north side at the top of a huge staircase.

The King granted the name of “Phra Rung Rodjanarith Sri-intharathit Thammamopas Mahavachiravuth Rachpuchaniyabopitr” to this Buddha image.

At its base, the relics of King Rama VI are housed. Additionally, there are:

Wat Phra Pathom Chedi Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์วัดพระปฐมเจดีย์) The museum is located at a lower level in the east of the church. It houses artefacts and historical remains which were discovered during the excavations in Nakhon Pathom including the coffin and funeral ritual set that were used in Ya-Lei’s cremation ceremony. Ya-Lei was a dog very dear to King Rama VI, that was shot and died. The King was much saddened and commanded to building of a monument for Ya-Lei as a token of his grief. The museum is open daily from 09.00-16.30 except Monday and Tuesday.

Then there is the National Museum of Phra Pathom Chedi (พิพิธภัณฑ์สถานแห่งชาติพระปฐมเจดีย์) This is also worth a visit. The National Museum of Phra Pathom Chedi is located to the south of the Pathom Chedi compound. It is a 2 storey modern Thai building that houses artefacts and historical remains, most of which dates back to Dvaravati period and were found during excavations in Nakhon Pathom. For more information, contact Khun Sunthorn, Pali Union Education Foundation tel: 257-745 or Khun Panom Taeng On, Phra Pathom Chedi Treasury and Preservation Office tel: 242-143. The museum is open daily from 09.00-16.00 except Monday, Tuesday and National Gazette holidays.

Wat Srimahapho, Nakhonpathom province

Sanamchandra Palace พระราชวังสนามจันทร์

Phrabat Somdej Phra Monkut Klao Chaoyuhua Museum (Sanam Chan)

Located in the town of Nakhon Pathom 2 Kms. west of Phra Pathom Chedi. It occupies an area of about 888 Rais (about 355 acres). The palace was constructed by command of King Rama VI in the year 1907 when he was the Crown Prince. Phraya Silprasit supervised the construction which, in the beginning, there were two halls:
Phra Thinang Phiman Pathom and Phra Thinang Aphirom Reudi, both halls were granted names on August 27, 1911. Later, the Ratanasingh altar that was housed in Samakki Mukamat Hall was adorned with the royal umbrella on June 7, 1923.

The construction of this palace was inspired by the renovation of Phra Pathom Chedi which were to the satisfaction of King Rama VI.
The King saw that Nakhon Pathom was an ideal place for a leisurely stay due to the magnificent landscape.
Furthermore, King Rama VI also saw that Nakhon Pathom had the ideal terrain capable of deterring invasion by enemy forces using the river as their route.
This resembles to the Rattanakosin Era year 112 incident, whereby French troops anchored their battleships at the mouth of the Gulf of Thailand blocking the way out and King Rama VI did not want this kind of incident to be repeated.
He also intended to converted Sanam Chan Palace to be the heart of the second capital should a crisis again develop.

Sanam Chan Palace covers a vast area with a big court in the middle, surrounded by ring roads, with water canals on the outer perimeter. The beautiful halls that located in the middle of the Palace include:

Phiman Pathom Hall It is the first hall to be built in the Sanam Chan Palace. It is of European architecture, a 2-storey building in which King Rama VI resided before his ascension to the throne.
There are several rooms in the hall including His majesty’s bedroom, bathroom, dining room, and dressing-room among others.
In this hall, on a 2-metre teak bench, King Rama VI saw a miraculous vision of the Phra Pathom Chedi, later this hall was called “Phra Thinang Pathihan Tassanai” (the hall in which the King saw the miracle).
At present, the bench is located in front of the Phutthaisawan Hall, located in the National Museum. As for the Phiman Pathom Hall, it now house a part of the Nakhon Pathom City Hall.

Apirom Reudi Hall It is a 2-storey hall located to the south of Phiman Pathom hall. At present it houses the offices of the Nakhon Pathom City Hall.

Vatchari Romya Hall This is a 2-storey hall. It was built in Thai architecture: multi-layered roof with colourful tiles on the turret; with a swan-like finial on the roof ridge, representing the head of garuda and small finials jutting out of the 2 corners of the gable. When King Rama VI accessed to the throne, it was his temporary residence. Presently, it is a part of the City Hall.

Samakki Mukmat Hall This is a Thai style hall. The building is raised 1-metre above the ground with 2 staircases running down on both sides. This hall is connected to the Vatchari Romya Hall by a door. It was a meeting hall for King Rama VI and also where he holds court. Furthermore, the hall was also used as a Khone theatre (Khone is a kind of Thai play performed by dancers wearing masks). When the Khone was performed, the performers could stage their performances on the surrounding 3 terraces as well as on the stage.

There are two other theatres which are similar: Suan Misakawan theatre and Vachiravut School’s auditorium. At present, this hall is a meeting hall of Nakhon Pathom province; it is also used to hold other provincial ceremonies.

Phra Tamnak Chali Monkol-asna This is located nearby in the Southeastern direction. The 2-storey building is of European architecture, plastered in caramel-yellow, with roof tile in red. It was used as a temporary residence of King Rama VI when there were missions that involved with Suer Pah Unit.

Phra Tamnak Mari Ratchrat Banlang This is a 2-storey wooden building and painted in red The building is located opposite Phra Tamnak Chali Monkol-asna and are connected via a walk way. This walk way resembles a bridge with a roof, walls, and windowsThe path walk is similar to a bridge, decorated with roof, wall, and windows as tall as the entire height of the walls.

Phra Tamnak Tabkaeo This is a small building that used to be a temporary residence during winter time. At present, after a renovation it is a residence of the Palad Changwat of Nakhon Pathom. Within the building, there is a fireplace and on the wall is a black and white portrait of King Rama VI done on a slate of white marble. Around 450 Rais (180 acres) of land to the rear of the building is now the campus ground of the Silpakorn University.

Phra Tamnak Tabkwan This a teak building with a palm leaf roof. It is situated on the opposite side of the road from Phra Tamnak Tabkaeo, a little further away from Phra Tamnak Mari Ratchrat Banlang. Under the royal command of King Rama VI, the teak building was constructed to preserve traditional Thai architecture. It is also used for merit-making and some times classic Thai performances would also be held at this building.

Thevalai Kanaesuan or Phra Pikkanesh Shrine It was built to house the image of Phra Pikkanaesuan (or Ganesh), the Indian god of arts. The shrine is located in a large field, in front of the Sanam Chan Palace and is in the centre of the Palace compound. The shrine is deeply revered and is considered the sacred symbol of Sanam Chan Palace.

Ya-Lei Monument This is an actual size iron cast figure. The dog, Ya-Lei, was very close to the heart of King Rama VI. Ya-Lei was a hybrid dog born in the Nakhon Pathom prison. King Rama VI found it when he inspected the prison. Ye-Lei was very fortunate to have caught the eye of the King and was brought to the palace. Ya-Lei was a very smart and loyal dog. The King was very fond of Ya-Lei, so much so that Ya-Lei was envied, and was later shot by an envious person. King Rama VI was much saddened when Ya-Le passed away and commanded that a copper statue of Ya-Lei be cast and placed on a pedestal in front of Phra Tamnak Chali Monkol-asna. The King composed a poem for Ya-Lei that was inscribed below sculpture.

Additionally, there are residential buildings in the Sanam Chan Palace compound that housed the King’s staff. Some of the buildings are run-down while others are still in good condition. Chao Phraya Ramrakop’s residence, then called “Tab Charoen”, is one of the buildings still in good condition which, at present, houses the office of the Nakhon Pathom Public Health.

Sanam Chan Palace is the most favourite palace of King Rama VI, judging from his frequent visits to this palace. His stays at this palace are always at the same time as the military exercises of the Suer Pah Unit. The King would always inspect the Unit and also command the Unit’s exercise. At present, the buildings that were built to serve the Suer Pah Unit, such as the living quarters of the Suer Pah Cavalry Unit and Ranger Unit, and a Suer Pah hospital, can still be seen.
Currently, part of Sanam Chan Palace is under the care and responsibility of Silpakorn University and Nakhon Pathom Province.
It is open to the public from Thursday to Sunday, 09.00-16.00. Admission for Thais: an adult fee is 30 Baht, a child fee is 10 Baht. Admission for foreigners is 50 Baht. In case of a group visit, prior approval from Silpakorn Universityis required. Contact can be made at Silpakorn University, Sanam Chan Palace, Nakhon Pathom, tel: 034 253 840-4 ext. 103, 034 253 845, 034 255 099, 255-789.

Wat Phra Mayn

It is situated at Ananta Uttayan Park, Tambon Huai Chorakae, to the south of Phra Pathom Chedi. It is an abandoned temple that nowadays resemble a large hill. Also discovered here are other artefacts which include bronze Buddha images as well as arms, thighs, and hands from a laterite Buddha image, Yaksa Deva (Thai mythical giant gods), Lotus Lion Deva, and stucco reliefs from the stupa ruins.

Neun Dhamma Sala

It is located at Dhamma Sala temple, Tambon Dhamma Sala, 6 Kms. to the east of Phra Pathom Chedi, on the South-side of Petchakasem Road. The physical appearance is that of a hill with a tunnel opening that is believed to connect Wat Phra Mayn to Wat Dhamma Sala. From hearsay, there are various valuable treasures like ancient pottery but which may not be taken out because there is a treasure guardian spirit watching over.

Phra Padhone Chedi

Another historical site located in Wat Phra Padhone Chedi temple, Tambon Phra Padhone. It is located 2 Kms. to the east of Phra Pathom Chedi down Petchakasem Road. The former shape of Phra Padhone Chedi was an upside down bell like other Chedi that was built in Dvaravati period. As Wat Phra Padhone Chedi is located in the middle of the ancient city of Nakhon Chaisi thus several artefacts were discovered during excavations. Some of the discovered items include Buddha images, heads of Buddha images and Buddha images in terra cotta, as well as a bronze figure of a garuda gripping naga under it’s claws, which is the official symbol of King Rama VI.

Neun Phra or Neun Yai Hom

In 1936, Phra Dhamma Vathi Kanachan (Luang Pho Ngeun), the abbot of Wat Don Yai Hom, dug up broken bricks from the base of the hill to build a church.

Digging down further, he found two square green laterite pillars both about 4 metres high with a unique carving at the crown of the pillars that resembled pillar doors of the Sanchi Chedi of King Asoka Maharaj, and a laterite statue of a crouching deer, another Dvaravati period Buddha image, and a broken stone Sema Dhamma Chakra (Buddhist Wheel of Virtue used signify temple boundaries).

The laterite stone pillars had a gap at the top for placing the Sema Dhama Chakra. This is the same style as those found at Phra Pathom Chedi, Wat Phra Ngam, Wat Phra Padhone, and Sanam Chan Palace.

Presently, the pillars are at Wat Don Yai Hom, the laterite crouching deer and the Buddha images are on exhibit at the Bangkok National Museum.

These discoveries confirm that this area was once an ancient temple and that the hill must have been a large Chedi that was in the temple compound dating back to the Dvaravati period, or earlier, roughly about 1,000 years ago.

It is a revered and important historical site.

Neun Wat Phra Ngam

Situated at Phra Ngam temple, Tambon Nakhon Pathom, near Nakhon Pathom Railway Station. At this temple, during excavations, a large Chedi dating from Dvaravati era and artefacts including dilapidated sandstone Buddha images, Sema Dhama Chakra (Buddhist Wheel of Virtue used signify temple boundaries), statues of crouching deer, bronze Buddha images, and earthen Buddha images, which were made with unsurpassed craftsmanship.

Prince Damrong Rachanuphab explained that the origin of the name “Wat Phra Ngam” (temple of magnificent Buddha images) was due to the beauty of the discovered earthen Buddha images, the temple was given such name.

Some of them are housed at the National Museum and others at Phra Pathom Chedi. All of the discovered artefacts dates back to the Dvaravati period, which are the same age as those found around Phra Pathom Chedi.

Herbal Grove, Wat Plug Mai Lai

Situated in Tambon Thung Khwang, 20 Kms. from Nakhon Pathom town on Malaiman road. An entrance to the temple can be seen on the left.

More than 500 kinds of herbs abound in the grove which covers an area of 92 Rais (36.8 acres) and in a tranquil ambience.

The temple offers various natural therapies including traditional massage, herbal sauna, herbal food, and meditation. For more information contact, Nakhon Pathom Sanitation Office tel: 034 242-029, 251-548 and Wat Plug Mai Lai tel: 034 204-044, 204-470.

Ancient City of Kamphaeng Saen

This is an ancient town that is worth visiting. It is located at Mu 5, Tambon Thung Kwang. The ancient town dates back to the Dvaravati period and is believed be as old as Muang Nakhon Chaisi, but is smaller in size.

Situated 24 Kms. north of Nakhon Pathom town on Malaiman road, it can be reached by car. At present, it is used as a Boy Scout’s camp.

The old town is believed to have been constructed by Nakhon Chaisi’s former rulers to control a trading route along canals and rivers to promote the town into a seaport-trading centre.

The development as well as the deterioration of the two towns must have been almost at the same time.

The interesting attractions of Ancient City of Kamphaeng Saen include unchanged ditches and earth dikes surrounding the ditches. Within the Ancient City area, there are small earthern mounds, ponds, and large trees that are homes to various kinds of birds.

Wat Klang Bang Kaew

It is an old temple located in Tambon Nakhon Chaisi. The temple houses a chapel, a vihara, and a principal Buddha image, all of which are very old and assumed, archaeologically, to have been built in the Ayutthaya period.

There is a Phra Phuttha Vithinayok museum, exhibiting historical remains, artefacts, as well as utensils of the late monks: Luang Poo Boon (Phra Phuttha Vithinayok Boon Kanthachoti) and Luang Poo Perm (Phra Phuttha Vithinayok Perm Punyavasano).

Various Buddha images, amulets, and sacred talismans of both late monks are also on display.

On another side of the museum, Thai medicines, herbs, and utensils of craftsmen are displayed. It is open on Saturdays and Sundays, and national gazette holidays from 09.00-16.00. For more information, call: 034 331-462, 332-182.

Wat Rai Khing

Wat Rai Khing is located in Tambon Rai Khing 32 Kms. from Bangkok. It is a civilian monastery built in 1791. Somdej Phra Phuttha Chan (Pook) named this temple after the district. When construction was completed, the Buddha image was brought from Wat Sala Poon and enshrined here, later the locals named the image “Luang Pho Wat Rai Khing”. The Buddha image is in the attitude of Buddha Subduing Mara. The Buddha image is of Chiang Saen style and is assumed to have been built by Lanna Thai and Lan Chang craftsmen. According to legend, this Buddha image was found floating in the river, so the townspeople lifted the Buddha image out of the water and enshrined the image at Wat Sala Poon.

Prince Vachirayan Varoros granted temple the name of “Wat Mongkol Chinda Ram” (with the words “Rai Khing” in parenthesis after the name) but the locals call the temple Wat Mongkol Chinda Ram Rai Khing, later it was shorten to Wat Rai Khing. The temple is well known among Thais, faithful Buddhists frequently pay a visit to Wat Rai Khing to pay homage to the sacred Buddha image. Every Saturdays and Sundays, food and fruits are sold in front of the temple. This temple is also renowned for its natural fish sanctuary, a habitat of hundreds of thousands of Sawai fish (big catfish-like freshwater fishes). Visitors can buy bread here to feed the fish.

Additionally, there is a museum that collects and displays various kinds of artefacts including ancient bowls, mural paintings, and old books, all of which were donated by the townspeople. For more information on the museum, contact tel: 034 311-384, 323-056.