King Rama III was a faithful king. Devoted to Theravada Buddhism, the king encouraged Buddhist education among the monks as well as took various temples under his patronage. Providing personal funding for reparation of those temples, massive reconstruction and renovation of monastery both inside and outside of Bangkok were taken place during his reign. However, only three temples were found by the king himself. One of them is Wat Thepthidaram.
During the construction, Wat Thepthidaram was called Wat Phrayakrai. This could be a result from the cultivated land, which was given to the king for the temple construction, might belong to Phraya Krai, a high rank officer or relatives of the king. In 1836, King Rama III ordered Prince Ladawan, his son and the first of the Ladawan lineage, to oversee the construction. The construction was completed in 1839 and the king led the ceremony for connecting the Baddhasīmā (temple’s boundary establishment ceremony). On December 22nd, 1839, the King gave named to the temple, Wat Thepthidaram, in commemorate of his daughter, Krom Muen Absonsudathep (Princess Wilat). During the foundation of the temple, Princess Wilat also donated huge amount of personal funding to the construction of the temple to honor King Rama III.
Krom Muen Absonsudathep (Princess Wilat)
Krom Muen Absonsudathep (Princess Wilat) is the third daughter of King Rama III and Chaochormanda Bang. The princess was born on December 5th, 1811. Distinctively brilliance, the princess was promoted and served closely to his majesty the king, overseeing the internal palace expenses as well as administration of certain office in the internal palace. Princess Wilat also supported various talents under her patronage, including the great poet, Sunthorn Phu. Sunthorn Phu in poverty composed several poems for the princess, whom helped him with his living expenses throughout her life.
At the age of 25, King Rama III ordered the construction of Wat Thepthidaram to commemorate the princess. At the age of 27, the king officially promoted her to the rank of Krom Muen Absonsudathep, which was ceremonially written down in the palace record.
Krom Muen Absonsudathep (Princess Wilat) passed away on August 21st, 1845, at the age of 35. King Rama III officially attended her highness funeral, which took place at Sanam Luang on March 15th, 1846.
According to Phra Thepwisudthimethi (Paew Parakkamo) the 11th abbot of Wat Thepthidaram, the temple has been a center for Buddhist education for monks even before the foundation of the school. The Dhammaviras School was found in order to provide monks of Wat Thepthidaram and surrounding temples both Pali (ancient language used in Buddhist education) and Pariyatti (scriptures).
Wat Thepthidaram Cultural Knowledge Management Project is supported by Thepthidaram Foundation