Wat Sri Khom Kham is a large temple complex lying just to the north of the city centre.
It’s not worth a detour on its own but would make an interesting stop if you were walking up to the Phayao Cultural Hall. Although famous locally for its impressive 17 metre sitting Buddha, what really turns heads at Wat Sri Khom Kham is a sculpture garden within the temple's grounds. This garden contains a collection of statues representing heaven and hell, though with a clear focus on the latter.
Most of the sculptures are related to a particular sin. The disembowelled woman had an abortion, the long tongue represents a liar and the people climbing up a thorny tree while wild dogs chew on their legs were illicit lovers or perhaps adulterers? There's also a big pot where a bunch of sinners are being boiled and towards the rear you'll see a bunch of human forms with animal heads praying to a serene Buddha statue -- discovered the error in their ways?
The small sculpture garden at Wat Sri Khom Kham makes for an intriguing few photos though we did see a better one at Chiang Dao’s Wat Mae It. Aside from the garden, stroll down to the lakeside for some good views.
The temple is about a kilometre out of town, on the lakeside. To get there walk north out of town for about 15 minutes. It is about 100 metres past the Cultural Centre and opposite the entrance to Wat Pra That Chom Thong.
By Mark Ord.
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