Our favourite temple in Khorat
Published/Last edited or updated: 8th September, 2016
Rising from the middle of a pond in a quiet corner of the old quarter, Wat Phra Narai Maharat is a large Theravada Buddhist temple that’s most notable for a Hindu shrine.
A wihaan with a gabled roof towers at the centre over the grounds and houses a large seated Buddha flanked by bare white walls and an old wood ceiling. Wander east from here and look for a blue sign with a red arrow and white Thai script; it’s situated near a life-size statue of a famous monk donning sunglasses beneath a banyan tree that’s worth a quick peek.
Another 50 or so metres down a lane lined by a pond on one side and humble houses on the other takes you to the Naranya Temple, home to four ancient Khmer-style Hindu images that were discovered here. The most sacred depicts the god, Phra Narai (Vishnu), placed at the centre. To its right sit smaller statues of Phra Phrom (Brahma) and Phra Isuan (Shiva), while an image of Ganesha is placed to the left. Sporting faded details and touches of gold leaf, all are less than half a metre tall.
The images are displayed in a shrine room with plenty of other distractions. An old Indian-style painting shows several Hindu deities, with blue-tinted Vishnu at the centre, while a life-like Indian-style portrait of the Buddha is hung in a corner. Also check out the Chinese-style Kuan Yin (goddess of compassion) and much larger Hindu statuary placed out front. Incense smoke and the scent of fragrant flowers fills the air.###4053
Wat Phra Narai Maharat also features a large ordination hall set at the centre of a pond accessed by a walkway, where locals feed fish that nourish some huge monitor lizards. The hall was locked when we passed through, but we appreciated murals on an outer wall displaying an emaciated Buddha to the right, and a more healthy looking Buddha reaching enlightenment on the left with some help from the earth goddess, Phra Mae Thorani.
Wat Phra Narai Maharat occupies a large chunk of land between Assadang Rd and Chomphon Rd towards the northeast corner of the old quarter. There are no English signs but it’s tough to miss the northern gate off Assadang, located directly across the street from the English sign for Ruammit Withaya School. A less noticeable gate stands alongside Chomphon.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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