Asia

Wat Thaton Temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Tha Ton temple (Phra Aram Luang) is the main temple of Mae Ai District, located in Ban Thaton Village, Thaton Subdstrict. Set in beautiful landscapes, its complex is situated on top of the nine consecutive hills and can be seen afar. From the temple, you can overlook Mae Ai’s fascinating landscapes and mountains. The construction date of the former Phrathat Thaton, a stupa, is not known. When Kruba Srivichai was on his way to Wat Phra That Sop Fang to have it renovated, he passed Ban Thaton Village. He told the locals to find holy relics on the mountains. The villagers then searched high and low in the jungle together and finally found the relics in bushes. They asked Kruba Srivichai to build a temple but he rejected it. He told them to ask Kruba Kaewkawichai to do it because the relics belonged with him. After that, the locals asked Kruba Kaekawichai to build a temple, which was named Wat Chom Khiri. The residents helped build it together and asked many monks to be the abbots here.

Phra Pariyatwithankoson (Saman Chanhom) was originally a Thaton villager. He became a novice when he was 13. After finishing studying the fundamental Dharma, he moved on to meditation practices. He observed a dhutanga austerity, a kind of ascetic practices, in Thailand and Laos for several years. He then pursued his studies in Bangkok and finally graduated. When he became a monk, Wat Thaton did not have any abbot. The villagers, therefore, asked him to come back to his hometown to supervise and improve the temple. In 1974 he began to improve both the structures and the members’ performance. From a small temple, it finally became a model temple and was granted the status of royal temple.

In 1991 He opened the Phra Pariyatti Dharma School, a kindergarten, a school for hill tribes, and the Pariyat Saman secondary school. He also initiated Phaendin Tham Phaendin Thong Project and had a building for sick monks built at Mae Ai Hospital. In addition, He himself was a person who designed 60% of the temple’s structures. He is currently the abbot of Mae Ai District. In the sermon hall, there are several antique Buddha images. Some are Chiang Saen-style Buddha images while others are of the style popular during the reign of King Mangrai, which is unique to this region. These Buddha images were brought from Wat Phrathat Sop Fang when it was abandoned and hit by a wildfire. On the bases of the three standing Buddha images are ancient inscriptions about which visitors can find out more information.

Moreover, on the temple’s ground, there are five statues of the Buddha subduing Mara and a model of the Buddha seated under a Naga, a seven-headed serpent. Made in 1987, the latter is made of bricks and concrete with the lap size of about 7 metres in width. Beneath it is a hall for observing religious practices. Furthermore, on top of the last hill stands prominently the Im Talotkan Buddha image. As a statue of the Buddha standing and holding an alms bowl, it is the Buddha image of Wednesday on which Somdet Phra Maha Ratchamangkhalachan (Wat Paknam), the maker of the statue, were born. It is made of bronze with the height of 9 metres.

In addition, there are other sacred objects to worship, for example, the statue of Katyayana carrying gold, the statue of Phra Buddha Nirandonchai and the statue of Guanyin.

Categories: Asia, Travel

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