Temples in Nan

Wat Phumin

Nan’s Wat Phumin has an unusual cruciform ubosot, built in 1596.

Ubosot at Wat Phumin, Nan

Inside there are four Buddha figures in bhūmisparśa mudrā. This posture reflects the moments after the Lord Buddha achieved enlightenment when he was challeged by Māra (the leader of a horde of demons) to prove that he had indeed achieved enlightenment and found a way to end all suffering. The Lord Buddha touched the earth, proclaiming that the earth was his witness.

Buddha figures at Wat Phumin, Nan

The inner walls of the temple are covered with vibrant murals painted by Thai Lü (an ethnic group, originally from Yunan in China) artists in the 19th century. They’re a wonderful reflection on life in those days.

Murals at Wat Phumin, Nan

Murals at Wat Phumin, Nan

Murals at Wat Phumin, Nan

Nearby there’s a strange domed building.

Building at Wat Phumin, Nan

I was a little surprised by what I found inside.

Hell at Wat Phumin, Nan

Hell on earth.

Wat Phra That Chang Kham

Nearby is Wat Phra That Chang Kham. (“Phra That” indicates that the temple houses a relic of the Lord Buddha.) It’s unknown when this temple was founded, but the vihara was rebuilt in 1458 CE. The gilded chedi dates from the 14th century.

Chedi at Wat Phra That Chang Kham, Nan

And has elephant supporters.

Elephant supporters at What Phra That Chang Kham, Nan

Inside the temple there’s a massive figure of the Lord Buddha.

Buddha figure at Wat Phra That Chang Kham, Nan

The walls have some faded murals. It’s said that the abbot ordered the murals to be whitewashed over because they were distracting the congregation from his sermons. Now they’re slowly being restored.

There were many novices hanging around in its grounds, some sweeping the paths, some buying shaved ice desserts, some just talking. Here are two playing a board game.

Novices playing a board game at Wat Phra That Chang Kham, Nan

Wat Suam Tam

This temple, dating from 1456, has an interesting 40 m high chedi dating from the 1600s. It’s clearly influenced by Khmer architecture, though also has strong Sukhothai influences.

Chedi at Wat Suam Tam, Nan

The vihara is absolutely ravishing in red and gold.

Vihara at Wat Suan Tan, Nan

Wat Hua Khuang

This minor temple has a beautiful wooden mondop (library), though it’s now used as a kuti (monk’s residence).

Mondop (library) at Wat Hua Khuan, Nan

Wat Phra That Chae Haeng

A couple of kilometres outside town is Nan’s most sacred temple, Wat Phra That Chae Haeng. The walk there’s pleasant enough, on a road through rice fields that gradually rises as it approaches the temple, which is situated atop a small hill.

Originally this wasn’t a temple, but was rather a chedi built in 1355 to house sacred Buddha relics.
Chedi at Wat Phra That Chae Haeng, Nan

The interior of the newer temple is, however, most impressive.

Interior of Wat Phra That Chae Haeng, Nan

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