Friday, 22 May 2009

Wat Phumin

Wat Phumin in Nan Province is an artistic temple that showcases the great faith of Buddhist people from ancient times.

Located in the heart of the province, the temple is famous for its unique architecture and murals, particularly among art lovers who come regularly and spend long hours admiring them. Built in 1596 by the ruling king of Nan, the temple is unique for the four-sided entrance to its chapel which concurrently serves three other purposes, namely as ubosoth or the ordination hall, vihara or the shrine hall, and as pagoda. Guarding the chapel's entrance along the north-south axis are a pair of naga serpents, with heads held high and their tails going a long way back, extending to the temple's four arched gates making it the only one of its kind in the entire nation.
In the middle of the chapel are four Buddha statues - their backs fused - facing in different directions.
The chapel houses beautiful murals. The last time they received a retouch was over a hundred years ago. The murals mirror the lifestyle and beliefs of Nan people in the old days.
Wat Phumin is one of the several Buddhist temples in the downtown area that combine an amazing blend of Sukhothai and Lanna arts and other cultures. Just across the road from the temple is Nan National Museum where you can learn more about the province's history and ethnic groups.
The flowered altar resting in the center of the bôt supports four Buddhas of Sukhothai style in the Bhûmisparsha-Mudrâ' ("Buddha Invoking Mother-Earth, Bhumi to be His Witness " or "victory over Mara" - the hand pointed down to the earth with the fingers touching the ground), facing the four directions. The shape of their ears and of their nose shows a Lao influence.
Aside to the altar, sits a splendid thammdat (a dhamma seat used by teaching monks).

Wat Phumin is located downtown. Nan is 668 kilometres north of Bangkok. Buses to Nan leave from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal every day. Sombat Tour (02-570-9030, operates air-conditioned coaches on the route. For more information, call the Tourism Authority of Thailand's local office at 053-717-433, 053-744-674/5.

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