Saturday, August 09, 2008

Travels in Narathiwat - Wat Khao Kong

Well on 16.7.2008 I had finally fulfilled my vow made in 2005 to come and visit Wat Khao Kong in Narathiwat, with the iconic Phra Buddha Thaksin image seated on a hilltop. This place is more like a Buddhist Park rather than a temple. There were no visitors whatsoever except me. Perfectly understandable considering the ongoing insurgency there. As I mused years ago, the Buddha sits ever so calmly on the hill in a gesture of transmitting the Dhamma, unfazed by all the violence taking place in this region.
Climbing up the steps to the Buddha image. Phra Buddha Thaksin was sculpted in the Chiang Saen style of Thai Buddhist art, which could be traced back to the Pala art style of Northern India. This style of art has strong Mahayana influences.
At the base of Phra Buddha Thaksin. The image was first built with concrete, then covered with a layer of golden mosaic tiles. It stands at 24 metres high and 15 metres wide - the largest in Southern Thailand.
This signboard below the altar tells us the Katha to pay homage to Phra Buddha Thaksin. It goes:
Namo Tassa (3x)
Naranarahitang Ewang Naratewehi Poochitang
Naranang Ganapanggehi
Namamisukitang Chinang Gayaputtang (1x).
Looking down from the hilltop. The highway is just outside the gate.
The Ubosot with the Chedi on top. It was built in the shape of an elephant offering a lotus, housing a bell-shaped Chedi of Mahamaya. The relics of the Buddha are enshrined inside.
In front of the Ubosot is this shrine to LP Tuad.
A closer look at the LP Tuad image. It is special in the sense that it shows LP Tuad with 1 hand facing up and the other facing down, both resting on his knees. It looks like the mudra of wish-fulfillment popular in Mahayana Buddhist images. If there was anything to wish for from LP Tuad, it must be for peace returning to this region!
The stairs leading up to the Chedi, guarded by 2 Deva images.
This is the 5-inch Bucha of Phra Buddha Thaksin I obtained from the temple, made of black bronze material. Does it resemble the original one? I like it a lot as I have some affinity with this Buddha. With that, I concluded that day's journey and went back to Hadyai.

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