A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z




Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakhon (พระมหาธาตุแก่นนคร)

Thai. Name of a royal Buddhist temple on the southern edge of the city of Khon Kaen, which at its centre has a pyatthat-like, nine-storey tall stupa, with a square base of 50 by 50 meters and a height of 80 meters. Its design was inspired by that of edifices at the Shwedagon Pagoda (fig.) in Yangon, whilst the stupa’s curved shape, known as a catenary curve in physics, is chosen to resemble a flexible hanging fishing net. The stupa was inaugurated in 1996 AD, in order to celebrate the Bicentennial of Khon Kaen, as well as to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of King Rama IX's Accession to the Throne, an event symbolized in the dimensions of this edifice, i.e. whereas the 50th Anniversary is represented in the size of the square base, the nine-tired roof is representative of Rama IX as the ninth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty, as well as of the chattra, i.e. the nine-tired royal umbrella or parasol (fig.) used by the Thai monarch. The temple’s center of activity is the stupa’s ground floor, which houses a Phra Boromma Sahrihrikathat, i.e. a bone relic of the Buddha, which is kept in a butsabok (fig.), i.e. a shrine in the form of a small elaborate pavilion throne. Adjacent to this is a wax statue of Luang Pho Koon Kantigo (คูณ ขันติโก), the temple's former abbot. In the back of the stupa, behind the relic shrine, is a framed colour photo of this late senior monk holdings his pad yot or monastic fan of rank. In front of it lay some of his personal borikaan, i.e. permitted articles Buddhist monks may have for daily life, such as his alms bowl; his yahm, i.e. a cotton bag with a shoulder strap; and a set of folded monk's robes. Next to this stands his koht, i.e. a giant funeral urn that was used to store and transport his remains prior to cremation, as monks —akin to royalty— are out of respect not laid down in a coffin due to their elevated status. The inner walls on this floor feature murals depicting the history of Khon Kaen, depicting the arrival of the first settlers, as well as scenes of traditional Thai life. Along the northern wall is a table with 108 alms bowls, symbolizing the 108 auspicious signs or laksana of a buddha and also found on the foot soles and in footprints of the Buddha (fig.), in order for visitors to take part in a tradition known as tamboon sai baht (fig.), in which devotees offer 108 small coins, one in each alms bowl. Beside this is another table with the Buddha statues of the Phra prajam wan system (fig.), in which each day of the week corresponds with a certain pose of a Buddha image. The walkways around the stupa have large mosaics of animals, and on each of the four corners is a mondop-like edifice that contains a minor relic of the Buddha referred to as Phra Chunlathaat (พระจุลธาตุ). The stupa's wooden door and window panels have bas-relief carvings that depict mythological characters and scenes from the Ramakien and local folklore. Whereas the stupa's upper floors all have one or more halls used for assembly purposes or equipped as museums with various objects of interest, the top and ninth floor has yet another relic that the temple received from Myanmar and that is here also kept in a butsabok-like shrine. In the garden in front of the stupa is a statue of a sauropod dinosaur with a youngster, which refers to the fact that that dinosaur fossils were found in Khon Kaen's Phu Wiang (ภูเวียง) District. The temple is generally referred to by the name of its relics but it predates the stupa and is in it own right known as Wat Nong Waeng (วัดหนองแวง). Also transliterated Phra Mahathaat Gaen Nakhon. WATCH VIDEO.