Tag Archives: Thai wats

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

Wat Po Chai Semaram, Fadaet Songyang, Kalasin

Wat Po Chai Semaram, Kalasin

Wat Po Chai Semaram is situated in Ban Sema about 20 km south of the capital of Kalasin Province. It is sited within the heart of an ancient city known as Muang Fadaet Songyang. Archeological evidence suggests that thgere was an urbanised community here in prehistoric times; there is plenty of visible evidence that the city was prospering in the Dvaravati period about a thousand years ago.

The wat compound is right in the heart of the village, as this map shows:

Ban Sema, Nong-Paeng, Kalasin

Wat Po Chai Semaram, KalasinThe wat serves as a depository for some impressive sandstone boundary makers, or sema. Some of them have bas reliefs illustrating the jataka stories of the Buddha’s life and previous lives. These are kept under cover in a special building. The blue rectangles had explanatory texts attached to them at one time. You can see one such text on the ground in front of the stone on the left.  This display is undoubtedly valuable and of considerable interest but is more than somewhat neglected.

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The wat also serves as a museum for artefacts of a secular nature. One exhibit I was pleased to see was this krok, or rice pounder, which used to be a ubiquitous feature of village homes in Isan.

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This unusual sala serves as a place where some exhibits are kept as well as serving its more usual function as a space where monks and lay people come together.

Wat Po Chai Semaram, Kalasin

You can see more images of this wat in the slideshow below.

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You can find Wat Po Chai Semaram by leaving Kalasin on Route 214 towards Roi Et.  After 13 km you reach the district town of Kamalasai. Turn right and travel along Route 2367 for 6 km until you reach the village of Ban Sema.

You can read more about Wat Po Chai Semaram on my other site, Life in Phana:

http://phanathailife.typepad.com/thai-life-phana/2011/07/more-than-one-way-to-make-merit.html