Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wat Nong Daeng : Nan

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Wat Nong Daeng
in Puea sub-district was constructed in 1787 by the Thai Lue and Thai Phuan people. The main Buddha image was cast by Khruba Sitthikan. The first renovation of the assembly hall was done in 1949 and again later in 1995. It was completed in 1996. Within the compound of the temple is a large shady terrace. The Chofa – gable finial decoration of a Buddhist temple’s roof – is engraved into the sculpture of Nok Hatsadiling (Hastilinga) – a mythical bird in the literature whose tip of the beak is an elephant’s trunk. The Thai Lue people believe that it is a high-ranked animal from heaven. At the same time, the eaves boards are embellished with wooden fretwork, the unique ones of the Thai Lue people. The Buddha image is enshrined on the Chukkachi base – a masonry base of intertwined Nagas, called Naga Throne. It has been believed that the Naga is a symbol of gracefulness, goodness, and a protector of Buddhism. Wat Nong Daeng was granted the Award of Outstanding Performance in the category of Cultural Attraction in Northern Thailand in the 5th Thailand Tourism Awards 2004.

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Wat Phaya Wat : Nan

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This temple is located just before reaching the town on Highway No. 101. An ancient religious site, it has rectangular Chedi bases on which Buddha states are placed around the Chedi structure. Combined artistic influences of Lanna, Lan Chang and native Nan can be detected.

Wat Pa Fang : Lampang

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Built during the reign of King Rama IV by Burmese, Wat Pa Fang is located on Sanam Bin Road. It has a large, glittering gold Chedi containing a Holy Relic brought over from Myanmar around 1906. The extensive Sala Kan Parian (preaching hall) is made entirely of wood with Burmese-style overlapping roofs. A small Ubosot has a Burmese-style woodwork over its roof with beautiful plaster designs over its doors. Usually there are a considerable number of Burmese monks in residence

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Prasat Pueai Noi : Khon Kaen

Prasat Pueai Noi
is the largest Khmer sanctuary in the upper Northeast. The compound comprises 3 brick buildings built on the same laterite base. All face to the east. Each pagoda has a sandstone lintel with designs. Each pagoda has a smaller chapel and a lintel with clear, lovely designs. A laterite wall surrounds the compound and there is a pool just beyond it. From Khon Kaen, take Highway No. 2 for 44 kilometres to Ban Phai, then take Highway No. 23 for 11 kilometres to Borabu district, then take a right-hand road for 24 kilometres to Ku Pueai Noi.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Phrathat Kham Kaen : Khon Kaen

This is a 19-metre stupa at Wat Chetiyaphum, Amphoe Nam Phong, about 26 km. northeast of Khon Kaen. According to legend, King Moriya, a ruler of Cambodia, ordered revered monks to carry the Lord Buddha’s ashes to be enshrined in Phrathat Phanom of Nakhon Phanom Province. On their way stood a dead tamarind tree, the sun was setting, they settled for the night there. In the morning, the monks continued their journey. Unfortunately, when they arrived, Phrathat Phanom had already been built, so they decided to head home. Once again passing the tamarind tree, but this time tree stood vivaciously alive, sprouting its branches and leaves as if to convey that the ashes should be situated here. Therefore, the monks advised the local villagers to build a stupa on the spot, which was obviously sacred.


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Wat Phra Kaeo : Chainat

Situated at Mu 10, Tambon Phraek Si Racha, which is about 23 kilometres off the provincial town of Chai Nat, Wat Phra Kaeo is another ancient temple housing a beautiful square-based stupa. Within the temple ground also houses a high stupa in a harmonious blend of the Lawo and late Dvaravati styles, as well as a relic chamber with a recessed base in the Sukhothai and Sri Vijaya styles. In front of the stupa stands a Buddha image hall known as Wihan Luangpho Chai, where a delicately carved sandstone lintel was found at the back of the image. This lintel depicts an image of the God Indra riding the elephant named Erawan inside a stylized shelter in a distinctive Khmer style, which dates back to more than 1,000 years ago. It is believed that at the decline of the Khmer empire, someone must have taken this artefact from somewhere and carved the Buddha image out of it. However, the head of the elephant is overturned, its trunk pointing upward, as a riddle that in order to be enlightened like the Lord Buddha “one must overcome greed, hatred, and ignorance to find true happiness.”

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Prang Ku Suan Taeng : Buriram

This khmer sanctuary at Ban Don Wai can be reached by using the Buriram-Phayakkhaphum Phisai road (Highway No. 219) for 70 kilometres, then left onto Highway No. 202 to Prathai for about 40 kilometres where there is a left-hand road to Ku Suan Taeng. This is another Khmer site with 3 brick pagodas on a single laterite base. The famous Narai Banthom Sin lintel was discovered here and is now kept in the National Museum in Bangkok. The lintel proves this site dates from the 17th Buddhist century.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong : Chiang Rai

It is located on Doi Chom Thong on the bank of the Kok River within town area, contains what is believed to be the oldest Holy Relic even before King Mengrai built Chiang Rai. The Chedi containing the Holy Relic was probably renovated at the same time the town was being built. A major religious site in Chiang Rai was from here that King Mengrai spotted the strategic location on which to establish the town.

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