Photo: The main wihaan.

Wat Phra Narai Maharat

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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.

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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.

The dude. Monk, we mean monk. Photo taken in or around Wat Phra Narai Maharat, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand by David Luekens.

The dude. Monk, we mean monk. Photo: David Luekens

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.

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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 ... Travelfish members only (Around 300 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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How to get there
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.

Wat Phra Narai Maharat
Between Assadang and Chomphon Rds
Admission: Free

Location map for Wat Phra Narai Maharat

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