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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Wat Plai Laem in 2012

Wat Plai Laem in 2012

This is my 'home' Wat or Temple. It's around the corner from where I live and over the years I've seen the temple change and grow, not only in size but also with more buildings and seemingly in importance around the island.
One of my early reports dates back to July 2007, when the main building was still under construction.

Above is the main building in full glory, it was completed around the same time that the Royally Sponsored cremation of Prakru Suntinonthakhun was held. Over the years I regularly go back just to take some pictures for the blog or I attend festivals or events at the Temple with my family, like Thaa Yai, the yearly recurring Temple fair or Temple party or just quickly hop over on the bike or pass through.

The biggest eye catcher is probably the big, multi-armed statue of Jaow Mea Guanim, a fairly unusual sight but nonetheless very impressive. This is part of the Chinese Buddhist history of Samui. I've photographed this statue various time but I really like this one during sun rise.

Another eye catching statue is the big white Buddha guy sitting with a big grin slightly in the back part of the Temple. You can reach it by walking over a bridge that is build over the small lake which houses hundreds of fish, turtles and other water animals. Food to feed the fish can be bought for 10 Baht in special vending machines. Check out this view from the Bot.

In May 2007 the Buddha statue was completed and a big heart was displayed during that years Visakha Bucha day which ended up inside the Buddha statue, filled with thousands of small Buddha amulets as blogged about here.

A function that the Temple also fulfills is that people from of all layers in society come to the Temples to have their car or motorbikes blessed by the monks and even more often people ask for blessings themselves. Above such blessing is in process with a monk and various people waiting whilst some others are being blessed.

One of the things I do like about this temple and I'm pretty sure it's the same at other temples around the island and country is that they function as social glue for the local people. At all local events, whole families show up and meet at the Temple, including cremations or moments when boys join the monk hood, a fairly big deal for each Thai family.

The Bot or the most important building of each temple.

This older Bot on the premises doesn't look that great from the outside, but once you enter inside, spectacular wall paintings surround you, left, right, in the middle and above you!

Khun Jarit Humdonming, artist of this temple, spent more than three years adding finer details to the external parts of the temple. The tradition of temple art follows the dates back to centuries and providing a good example of the influence and style that are still significant in modern Thai religious architecture. The elaborate entry doors were made from two enormous slabs of Laotian hardwood and are intricately carved with images of the life of the Buddha.

Various smaller statues are scattered around the premises, like this one in front of the Bot. Near this statue is a also a 'footstep of Buddha' to be found.

Or what about thesis monk that leads the 'wheel of life' or 'wheel of fortune' on each side of the entrance to the Bot.

The new sermon hall that I reported about in February is still under construction and slow but steady progress is being made. A proof that the Temple is constantly changing, as stated in the beginning of this blog post and the circle is round!

Wat Plai Laem should be on each person's itinerary when visiting Koh Samui, not all temples look the same! Another advantage is that once you're here, Big Buddha is just around the corner.

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