The Wat Chalong temple is the largest, most revered and most visited Buddhist temple in Phuket. The temple complex was built in its current location in 1837. Some remains of older structures have been found, however it is unknown exactly how old they are. The large grounds of Wat Chalong that is officially named Wat Chaitararam contains a viharn, a mondop, a ubosot, a chedi containing a secret relic, a sala and a crematorium.
Wat Chalong Temple is most famous for the sacred relic that is kept here, a fragment of a bone of the Buddha. The relic that is named Phra Borom Sareerikatat is kept inside a glass case on top of the 60 meters high Phra Mahathat Chedi. It was brought over from Sri Lanka and was installed in the chedi by King Maha Vajiralongkorn.The Grand Pagoda dominating the temple contains a splinter of Lord Buddha’s bone and is officially named Phramahathatchedi-Jomthaibarameepragat. The pagoda is decorated with wall paintings depicting the Buddha’s life story and also features various Buddha images.
Wat Chalong Chedi is built on three floors so feel free to climb all the way to the top floor terrace to get a beautiful bird view on the entire temple grounds. Few more steps will lead you to a glass display where the fragment of bone can be contemplated. You can see the nearby Phuket Big Buddha from there, but you can see it from almost anywhere in the southern part of Phuket island.
Wat Chalong also has a long history of being associated with healing. Several stories deal with Luang Phor Cham’s walking stick, that is believe to hold healing powers. A number of people were said to be cured of stomach pains after being touched with the stick. The famous walking stick is still being kept in the ubosot, but can not be viewed by the public.
Poh Than Jao Wat is one of the more important Buddhist statues in Wat Chalong. It is located in the westerly old hall of the temple, with two statues of an elderly gentleman called Ta Khee-lek (grandpa Khee-lek), a famous local who won many lotteries after consulting the Poh Than Jao Wat statue. Another statue in this hall is called Nonsi.
There is also an air-conditioned ‘exhibition home’ of Luang Poh Cham which features lifelike human-sized wax models of Luang Poh Cham, Luang Poh Chuang, Luang Poh Gleum, and Luang Pu Thuad along with antique Thai furniture, and Benjarong (Thai porcelain designed in five colours), while the famous ‘magic’ walking-stick of Luang Poh Cham is kept at the current Abbot’s dwelling.
Buddhist people come to the temple to pay respect to the Buddha by lighting candles, offering lotus flowers and applying gold leafs to Buddha statues. Often you will see firecrackers being set off as a way of showing gratitude for prayers that have been answered. Local people also go the temple to ask for the winning lottery numbers and to pray for health, good luck and wealth.
Tips to the Travelers :
1. Shoes are never allowed inside any temple, so be sure to leave yours outside with all the others.
2. All are required to cover their shoulders and wear pants or skirts that extend down to their knees.
3. Best day to visit is a weekday. On weekends and Thai public holidays the grounds can get very busy.
4. Certain level of respect is expected, Speak in a quiet tone within the temple and don’t touch the statues or other Buddhist relics.
5. Free Entrance and plenty of Free parking for cars and motorbikes.
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