Thursday, June 07, 2007

Travels in Pattani - Wat Changhai

On 21st May 2007 I travelled to Pattani province from Hadyai. As we know it is one of the hotbeds of terrorist attacks at this time. But I was determined to go pray at the temples devoted to LP Tuad, the most respected Bodhisattva monk in Thailand, despite the threat. One can feel the tension as along the way there were many road blocks & soldiers inspecting passing vehicles. My first stop was at the famous Wat Changhai, the place where LP Tuad entered Parinibbana. "Chang" means elephant & "hai" means given. That's why we see a lot of elephants at this temple. Above is the entrance & not far outside is the railway. You can read more about the legend of LP Tuad at:

Statues of an elephant & its mahout guarding the entrance. There were also many armed soldiers guarding the temple.
The temple's Wihan (Vihara).
This is the closeup view of the sacred LP Tuad golden statue inside the Wihan.
A more complete view of the statue & altar.
Other smaller statues at the side of the Wihan. Young girls are pasting gold leaf onto the statues.
Another slightly bigger LP Tuad statue in the Wihan, flanked by elephants.

This one is riding on an elephant.
Asked my driver to take this shot behind the Sala.

The altar inside the Sala. A reclining Buddha lies across it.
The Chedi-shaped shrine beside the railway.
Another golden statue of LP Tuad is venerated inside the shrine.
The main Chedi of Wat Changhai. Inside the chedi are the holy relics of LP Tuad. But it is closed to the public most of the time.
Inside the Bot. An ordination ceremony fro 6 guys was taking place at the time. When will I get my chance to ordain? Ajarn Tim, past abbot of Wat Changhai & the first master ever to make LP Tuad amulets. After getting some souvenirs from the temple counter, I proceeded to my next destination, Wat Saikow.

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