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Songkran Holiday in Ubon Ratchathani (5)

Wat Pah Nanachat

overcast 27 °C

Wat Pah Nanachat in Ubon Ratchathani province is a branch unit of Wat Nong Pah Pong, the international monastery for people around the world to learn Buddhism. As mentioned previously, Wat Nong Pah Pong head of monk was Luang Phu Chah or Ajarn Chah and Wat Pah Nanachat was headed by one of Ajarn Chah's disciple, Ajarn Sumedho who was an American national. Other than being led by Ajarn Chah, Wat Pah Nanachat has another close association with Wat Nong Pah Pong where the wat is located within lush forest, which is a symbolic of Buddhism teachings under the stewardship of Ajarn Chah. Wat Pah Nanachat focussed mainly on learning Buddhism through meditations. There was a 2 storey wooden structure being the accommodation, cooking and dining area for the students. The building also display some of descriptions on the history of Ajarn Chah, his teaching methods and the establishments of Wat Nong Pah Pong and Wat Pah Nanachat as well as pictures of some foreign monks who were trained by Ajarn Chah or learnt Buddhism which follows his teaching methods. There is the main praying hall, the ubosot with a Buddha sculpture being placed inside.

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A display on the history of Wat Pah Nanachat and Ajarn Chah

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A quote from Ajarn Chah at Wat Pah Nanachat

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The lush trees at Wat Pah Nanachat

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Some questions and answers hanged on trees to understand Buddhism at Wat Pah Nanachat

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More displays on descriptions on history of Ajarn Chah and establishments of the Buddhism teachings under him

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The foreign monks who had been trained by Ajarn Chah or learning Buddhism under his teachings being on display at Wat Pah Nanachat

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The wooden structure praying halls at Wat Pah Nanachat

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The main praying hall, interior and exterior of Wat Pah Nanachat

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3 monkey sculptures at Wat Pah Nanachat

Posted by kidd27 26.04.2014 06:15 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Songkran Holiday in Ubon Ratchathani (4)

Wat Nong Pha Pong

overcast 27 °C

Wat Nong Pah Pong in Ubon Ratchathani is not exactly a temple by itself. It is more than a temple as the main attraction at this Thai wat is the 3 storey building that houses several historical items which are being kept in display shelves within the building including old notes and archaeological items and photos of monks under the internship of Luang Phu Chah or Ajarn Chah. The most important item being kept within this building at Wat Nong Pha Pong is the body of Ajarn Chah in which he was known to be predictable of what happens in the future and was said to have the power of invisibility. This temple was known as international temple as many of those from across the world would come over to be ordained as a monk due to their strong believes on the teachings and holiness of Ajarn Chah. Even King Rama 9, the reigning king of Thailand paid the last respect to Ajarn Chah after his death. There is a golden chedi located within the heavily forested temple boundary. This is a very beautiful chedi and looks very similar to that of Pha That Luang temple in Vientiane, Laos. The chedi interior has golden pillars and golden ceiling and the chedi building has 4 doors on each side of the structure. In the middle of the chedi is another mid-size golden chedi which looks similar to that of Wat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai or Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon with a photo of Ajarn Chah placed on the base of this mid-size chedi. The tiles of the floor of the chedi were black in colour and were nicely polished as can be seen from the shining effects.

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The entrance to the 3 storey building cum museum at Wat Nong Pah Pong

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The forest within Wat Nong Pah Pong

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Photo of King Rama 9 paying last respect to Ajarn Chah @ Wat Nong Pah Pong

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The replica of late Luang Phu Chah (Ajarn Chah) @ Wat Nong Pah Pong

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The casket in which body of Luang Phu Chah being kept @ Wat Nong PAh Pong

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Some of the displays at Wat Nong Pah Pong. The candle carvings is synonym to Ubon Ratchathani's Lantern Festival and is only unique to the Isan region in Thailand

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The 3 storey building at Wat Nong Pah Pong

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The lush forest within Wat Nong Pah Pong

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The chedi At Wat Nong Pah Pong

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The lush greenery at the chedi of Wat Nong Pah Pong

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A view of the chedi of Wat Nong Pah Pong from afar

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One of the 4 entrance door to chedi Wat Nong Pha Pong

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The interiors of Chedi Wat Nong Pha Pong

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The ceiling of chedi Wat Nong Pha Pong

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The door of the chedi Wat Nong Pha Pong

Posted by kidd27 19.04.2014 22:08 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Songkran Holiday in Ubon Ratchathani (3)

Songkran merit making

sunny 39 °C

Songkran is more than water splashing and this new year celebration was originally started with the tradition of "rod nam dam hua" which is a Thai new year ritual to ask for forgiveness from the elderly for the past year mistakes and wrongdoing. The ritual begins with the elderly sit on a higher position while the younger person(s) seeking for forgiveness on a lower position. The younger person seeking forgiveness would pour water from the silver or golden bowl filled with water with another smaller size bowl to the claps hands of the elderly while asking for forgiveness and in return the elder person would use small bouquet of flowers or leaves to wet the head of younger person as sign of forgiveness.

In some Thai families, Songkran New Year was celebrated through merit making with invitation on monks to their homes for prayers seeking for good health, happiness and peace. This merit making tradition would begin with the monks sitting on a area which was specifically prepared for them with a small altar beside the chief monk who would lead the team of monks for the prayers merit making. The ritual would start with family members kneel down and offer 3 times of kowtow before sitting on the floor. Then, the chief monk would start by chanting prayers while family members would re-chant according to what had been chanted by the chief monk. In the interval, the head of the family would asked for good wishes for all the family members and hope that the new year would bring a new beginning for the whole family. At the end of the ritual, all the monks would be presented with gifts which only meant for the monks' daily use and nothing materialistic. Before the monks leave, they would also be provided with food while other family members would also help themselves with the food which can either be prepared by family members or bought from food vendors.

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Children seeking forgiveness from the elderly during Songkran in this "Rod Nam Dam Hua" traditional ritual

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The elderly wets the head of the person seeking forgiveness during the Rod Nam Dam Hua ritual during Songkran

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The monks at Songkran merit making tradition

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Thai family members re-chanting prayers from chief monk during Songkran merit making ceremony

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Monks presented with gifts (only for daily use) at the end of the Songkran merit making ceremony

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Food being offered to the monks at the end of Songkran merit making ritual

Posted by kidd27 19.04.2014 21:10 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Songkran Holiday in Ubon Ratchathani (2)

Wat Thung Si Muang

sunny 39 °C

Songkran holiday is one of the most important celebration throughout Thailand and the Thais together with foreign tourists would get into the festive celebration by indulging in water splashing and water shooting in embracing the new year. Other than these water fights activities, the Thai new year was also celebrated by returning home to visit parents and loved ones in their native provinces and also paying homage in various temples across the country. The most beautiful wat or temple in Ubon Ratchathani at this time from my point of view would be the Wat Nong Bua due to its distinctive architecture design of the white and golden pyramid like chedi which could not be found anywhere else in Thailand. Another special feature of Wat Nong Bua is that the chedi was constructed in front of the ubosot in which is different from other Thai temples where the position of chedi is on the opposite direction. Another must visit temple while in Ubon is the Wat Thung Si Muang.

What being distinctive about Wat Thung Si Muang is that this temple has a wooden home-like structure built within the main temple's ubosot and has a small pond that surrounded this home structure. This wooden home-like structure is actually the temple's library. In the middle of the wooden house library, there is a square size room in which a multi-storey shelf and a small cupboard was placed inside with some religious items kept on the shelf and cupboard. This squared room also has a small open window on its side and the wall of the squared room also with artwork paintings seen on it. Some other educational items were also placed on the upper wall of this wooden home library. When you entered the wooden library, you can walk along the corridor surrounding the square room. As you walked, you would come across the several large windows in which the pond surrounding the wooden structure can be seen. The reason why this wooden structure was built on a pond was to protect the library from being infested with termites due to the nature of building as it stored very important educational and religious items belonging to the temple. The ubosot of Wat Thung Si Muang is quite small in size and has a mid-size golden Buddha structure placed inside with very old paintings seen on the wall of the building. Wat Thung Si Muang is believed to be 185 years old and is one of the oldest temple found in Ubon Ratchathani province. It was also believed that the Buddha footprint also found within the temple structures.

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The wooden structure library at Wat Thung Si Muang

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The front view of the wooden library @ Wat Thung Si Muang

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The wooden structure library @ Wat Thung Si Muang in which is being surrounded by a pond

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The room inside the wooden library of Wat Thung Si Muang

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The corridor inside the wooden library @ Wat Thung Si Muang

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The entrance into the room inside the wooden library @ Wat Thung Si Muang

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The wall of the room and the window inside the wooden library of Wat Thung Si Muang

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Some educational item displayed inside the wooden library of Wat Tung Si Muang

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One of the windows of the wooden library at Wat Thung Si Muang

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Side view of the library at Wat Thung Si Muang

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The front view of the ubosot at Wat Thung S Muang

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The interior of ubosot @ Wat Thung Si Muang

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A large gong at the entrance to Wat Thung Si Muang's ubosot

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Visitors can pray for their wishes at this unique sand mountain at Wat Thung Si Muang

Posted by kidd27 19.04.2014 19:12 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Songkran Holiday in Ubon Ratchathani(1)

Wat Nong Bua

sunny 38 °C

This year I had yet another opportunity to celebrate Songkran festival in Ubon Ratchathani albeit a quiet holiday just like last year but was rather a meaningful celebration with an extended Thai family. The first day of Songkran holiday was kicked off visiting some of the famous Thai temples around Ubon which drew much visitors from the locals as well as from other provinces and foreign tourists. Though I had visited these temples before during my past visits, its good to have yet another chance to revisit again to see the changes that had taken place on these temples after several years of absence. The most distinctive changes that could be seen was the repainting of Wat Nong Bua, a pyramid look alike chedi which was constructed based on the Mahabodhi temple in India. The exterior colour of the chedi were in white and gold painted on the wall of the chedi. The chedi has a squared short wall being constructed around it as a boundary as well as a large concourse area surrounded the main chedi. There were also 4 other smaller chedis on each edge of the boundary wall of Wat Nong Bua. Inside the main chedi, there was another golden chedi built and placed in the middle of the main chedi building with 4 golden Buddha statues on each side of the pyramid look alike golden chedi. What was distinctive about this chedi was that if one could lift a small elephant statue made from iron with the little finger, your wishes would be able to come true. Whether this is true or otherwise is subject to whether one believes it or otherwise. The were 4 doors on the main chedi with each door being carved with skilful thai artwork. The upper wall above each door also being decorated with great skill artwork. There is an ubosot (praying hall) located behind the chedi.

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The main chedi of Wat Nong Bua

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Side view of the main chedi of Wat Nong Bua

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The concourse area surrounded the main chedi and the smaller chedi on the edge of the boundary wall

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One of the entrance door of the main chedi of Wat Nong Bua

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The golden chedi and the golden Buddha statue inside the main chedi of Wat Nong Bua

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Another view of the golden chedi and golden Buddha statue interior of Wat Nong Bua

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The ceiling of chedi Wat Nong Bua and the structures built on it together with great artwork decorations

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The door and the wall decorations at chedi of Wat Nong Bua

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The iron elephant in which if you could lift it with your little finger, all you wishes would come true

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The ubosot at Wat Nong Bua

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Inside the ubosot of Wat Nong Bua with a huge golden Buddha statue

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The beautiful chedi of Wat Nong Bua from afar

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The ceiling and the interior golden chedi of Wat Nong Bua

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One of the door with artwork crafting inside Wat Nong Bua

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The interior wall decoration of chedi Wat Nong Bua

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A close view of main chedi Wat Nong Bua

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Another concoure area view at chedi Wat Nong Bua

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Another interior wall decoration seen inside chedi Wat Nong Bua

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The main chedi at Wat Nong Bua

Posted by kidd27 19.04.2014 12:15 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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