Category Archives: Wats, Monasteries

Small village, large wat compound

Wat Aranyapaisan is a beautiful monastery in a large, well-kept compound in the village of Ban Sroi, Amphur Phana, Amnat Charoen Province. There were nine monks in residence when I visited in late May 2017.

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Refurbishing a village Wat

Ban Toei is a small village in Muang Samsip District, Ubon Ratchathani Province. It is situated beside Road 2049 between Phana and Muang Samsip.

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The main gate is somewhat obscured by telephone and electricity lines

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but this side gate, shown here from the inside, is not:

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From the main road, the eye is caught first by this large seated Buddha image:

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A closer look is worthwhile:
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Work on the ubosot seems to be finished, on the outside, at least.

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As is usual, the detail is worth exploring.

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Before leaving, a tam boun donation seemed appropriate. While I was there a truck was delivering dark red soil to level the compound. There are only two monks and a young novice in residence at this monastery. But they certainly seem determined to improve the buildings here. I will re-visit when they complete the work.

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Buddha Images Outdoors

Buddha images on hillsides and atop mountains are a feature of driving through the Thai countryside, and it is always a pleasure to catch a glimpse of one from the window of a train.

They are seen more and more frequently, it seems to me, in wat compounds and by the roadside. Here are a few I have seen and photographed recently.

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The next one is at Wat Khuha Sawan, Khong Chiam, Ubon Ratchathani Province:

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Wat Muang Sawat

Wat Muang Sawat (or Wat Ban Muang Sawat) is situated in Tambon Phana, Phana District, Amnat Charoen Province. It has three gates and this one is probably the ‘main gate’ even if most people might enter through another one.

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This gate has two features which make it attractive. There are no electrical or telephone wires on this side of the road; and there are 3-D ‘teaching’ pictures moulded onto the walls adjoning the gatway. These may be particularly appropriate because on the other side of the road is Ban Muang Sawat (Primary ) School.

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The sequence of childhood, old age, sickness and death is illustrated:

And there are somewhat grim warnings of the evils of adultery, gambling, and drunkenness:

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We can also see a monk teaching against theft, drunkenness and adultery:

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And we are also shown positive images of ‘good’ behaviour:

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The Wats of Tambon Phana

Introducing the Wats of Tambon Phana, Phana District, Amnat Charoen Province.

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wat-plt-gateWat Phra Lao Thepnimit

wat-burapa-gateWat Burapa

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Wat Muang Sawat

wat-treeratWat Treerat Prachasan

wat-nk-gate-1Wat Nek Khammaram

wat-don-kwanWat Don Kwan

New gateways

For a long time I used to walk into a monastery compound without taking much notice of the gateway I had just walked through. Much like most other people, I suspect. But nowadays I am possibly as interested in the gateways as I am in what lies beyond them.

So as this blog (or at any rate, this new incarnation of an old blog) has a special page allocated to gateways, and as gateways may be the first we know of the presence of a temple or monastery, I am going to begin with a post about gateways. A post about new gateways, in fact.

The first is one I discovered in a nearby village just a few days ago and I re-visited it with a camera earlier today.

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Wat Saeng Thong, Ban Na Sabaeng, Phana District,

Amnat Charoen Province

The gateway itself is impressive, but I particularly like the way that it frames the large Buddha image at the far end of the compound.

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There is another side gate still uncompleted, very close to this main one. Here are the craftsmen at work completing the decoration .

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So today I was lucky to see a gateway newly completed and another being worked on by a friendly gang of craftsmen. A few days ago I stopped on  my way to Ubon Ratchathani tp photograph a new gateway that has been standing in the same unfinished state for more than a month now. I suspect that more money is needed here!

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Wat Pharoj, Ban Pharoj, Muang Samsip District

Ubon Ratchathani Province

Welcome to the new isantraveller

Isantraveller will be back with new posts, focusing on travels to Buddhist temples and monasteries of North-East Thailand, otherwise known as Isan.

The site aims to reflect something that I became aware of after visiting many Buddhist temples and monasteries — that they are not all the same, though they may seem so to the weary traveller. They share many features but each reflects the particular interests of the founding abbot and his followers, and the local people who have supported them over the years. Undoubtedly, they also reflect the wealth or lack of it of those supporters.

These two gateways illustrate what I mean: the one simple and fairly plain, the other ornate. They both stand beside the same road, some 10 kms apart.