Showing posts with label Wat Khunaram. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wat Khunaram. Show all posts

Friday, 29 June 2012

Temple Fairs of Koh Samui

Koh Samui has some impressive temples that visitors should definitely consider visiting (Photo Courtesy

The Land of Smiles is primarily a Buddhist nation and it is famous for its impressive Buddhist temples. There are striking landmarks across the nation. They are one of the first things that come to mind when someone thinks about Thailand. Thai Buddhists, particularly the older generation, frequent these temples once a month during a full moon. Most Thais visit the temples during major festivals like Loy Krathong, Songkran, Macha Bucha and the Buddhist Lent Day.

Like the rest of the country, visiting Buddhist temples is part of the several things to do in Koh Samui. The island is home to a number of remarkable temples. The Wat Phra Yai is a famous Buddhist temple in Koh Samui and it houses the island's iconic Big Buddha. The remarkable golden statue is 12 meters tall and has shops and restaurants at its base. These establishments cater to the needs of both devotees and tourists alike. Visiting this temple is one of the major things to do in Koh Samui and is truly an enriching experience.

There are other several notable temples in Koh Samui. The interesting ones are Wat Khunaram that houses the mummified monk, Loung Pordaeng and Wat Kiri Wongkaram that houses another mummified monk, Loung Por Ruam. The Coral Buddha in Wat Somret  used to be a major crowd drawer. Visiting it nowadays is no longer part of the important things to do in Koh Samui except for Buddhist devotees. The impressive pagodas in the grounds of Wat Laem Sor and Wat Sila Ngu are a must-see. The latter houses the relic of the Lord Buddha. Another interesting Buddha statue is found in Koh Samui's most colorful temple, Wat Plai Laem. It has 18 arms. On the other hand, visitors can also find other religious sites on the island like the Chinese temple near Maenam pier.

Part of this temple visiting tradition is participating in its elaborate Buddhist temple fairs. It is one of the important things to do in Koh Samui and a visit to the island is not complete without it. Temple fair is a tradition that most temples in the Land of Smiles celebrate at least once a year. This festivity includes selling of various goods near temple grounds, buying and eating local delicacies and playing fun-filled games that both the young and old enjoy. These things to do in Koh Samui should definitely not be missed by tourists. 

Friday, 18 November 2011

Koh Samui Attractions: Visit the Mummified Monk at Wat Khunaram

One the top Koh Samui attractions is the mummified monk at Wat Khunaram. 

One of the more unusual Koh Samui attractions is also a great place to get some unique insights into Thailand’s Buddhist culture. The ancient temple Wat Khunaram is not only one of the most beautiful temples on the island, it’s also home to one highly unusual resident – the mummified body of monk Loung Pordaeng.

Loung Pordaeng passed away in 1973 while meditating, and ever since then his body had been left alone, sat upright in a meditative position, inside a glass case. What’s remarkable about this most unique of Koh Samui attractions is that even though the body was never treated to preserve it, it shows very few signs of decay. While some visitors may find that having a corpse in full view at one of the top Koh Samui attractions to be a bit shocking, Thai people see it more as something to reflect upon and so we beg you to take the same attitude.

Most Buddhists are unafraid of dying, as they see death as simply the end of one life and a chance to be reborn as someone better, with a better lot in their life, hopefully one step closer to attaining nirvana, the ultimate goal of all Buddhists. Loung Pordaeng is actually just one of a number of mummified monks in Thailand, although he is especially highly revered, which is why Wat Khunaram is one of the best Koh Samui attractions for local people.

Loung Pordaeng told his fellow monks, just before he died, that if his body decomposes as one would expect, then it should just be cremated as normal. But, rather prophetically, he told them that if his body failed to decompose, it should instead be put on display at the temple, to serve as a visual reminder of the teachings of Buddha, something that has led to its status as one of the most famous Koh Samui attractions.

Loung Pordaeng led a relatively normal life for many years, getting married to a local woman and having six children. However, in later life he began to reflect on what he had achieved, and was drawn into Buddhist teachings. He eventually left his wife to begin a monastic existence, absorbing himself in meditation and Buddhist texts. He lived for a while at a temple in Bangkok before moving to Koh Samui, where he spent time doing intensive meditation at the Tham Yai cave, before living out his last years as the islands most highly respected monk and abbot.

In his last few weeks of life, when aged 79, Lourd Pordang stopped eating altogether, and refused to speak any more, instead spending the entire time just meditating as his life slowly slipped away. It’s said that the reason his body is so well preserved after more than four decades is due to his simple lifestyle, his healthy lifestyle and his dedication to meditating for hours at a time. The body is remarkably intact, with the only noticeable change being in his eyes, which are now covered with sunglasses out of respect.

Wat Khunaram is a fairly typical temple aside from the mummified monk – Thai’s come this most unusual of Koh Samui attractions to make merit and pray each day, and visitors are more than welcome to come and look around and observe the Buddhist rituals.