Thursday, April 12, 2007

Phra Borom That Chaiya :Surat Thani

Phra Borom That Chaiya
Located approximately 4 kilometers northeast of Suan Mokkh, or approximately 54 kilometers north of the provincial capital, this ancient chedi houses Buddha relics, which are highly revered by local residents. The restored Phra Borom That Chaiya serves as a fine example of Srivijaya's influence on religious architecture and is believed to have been built more than 1,200 years ago. Along the courtyard of the chedi are several sculptures and Buddha images.

Chaiya is one of the oldest cities of Thailand. It was a regional capital in the Srivijaya kingdom of the 5th to 13th century - some historians even claim that it was the capital for the kingdom for some time, but this is largely disputed. The temple Wat Phra Borom That is centered around a reconstructed pagoda in Srivijaya style. The nearby branch of the National Museum has several relicts of that time on display. Two more former pagodas nearby are now only brick mounds. Inscription 23, as it was labeled by Prince Damrong in his Collected Inscriptions of Siam, is now attributed to Wat Hua Wiang in Chaiya. Dated to the year 697 of the Mahasakkarat era (i.e. 775 CE), the inscription on a Bai Sema shaped stone tells about the King of Srivijaya having erected a stupa at that site, possibly the one of Wat Phra Borom That.

Another important temple near Chaiya is the Wat Suan Mohkha Phalaram (also known by the short name Suan Mok, or Wat Than Nam Lai Monastery of Flowing Water), a forest temple. The temple was founded in 1932 by Phra Buddhadasa (1906-1993), a highly revered Buddhist teacher. In 1959 the temple was relocated to the present 150 acre (0.6 km²) site.


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