Saturday, February 13, 2010
Mountaintop Temple and Chinese Shrine:
Songkhla Province, which borders Malaysia, is a two hour drive from Trang. On Friday, Tinu's and my last day in Trang, we visited Hatyai, a very large town there with many modern amenities, including a huge mall with all the fanciest name-brand shops where we did get an hour to shop. (The volunteers who will be here for Khem's wedding bought dresses to wear.)
Our destination and reason for the trip was another amazing temple located on a mountaintop overlooking the city. It is dominated by a huge golden Buddha charged with safe-guarding the town. Fortunately, we could drive up to it.
Land and town stretch out below the Buddha on the mountain.
Smaller images surround the larger one.
This is a big bell to call the faithful but there were hundreds of smaller ones tinkling on the breeze--a sound of Thailand I will not soon forget. I tried to purchase one of the small bells and was told that I could do so only if I intended to have the bell hung as an offering at the temple. Khem interceded for me and they finally agreed to let me pourchase it--but by then, common sense had gotten the better of me. It was expensive (probably marked up because I'm a farang) and it was also heavy. Do I really want to lug this around Thailand for a couple more weeks, I asked myself. And what if they confiscate it at customs since it's considered a sacred object?
One of many signs sharing the wisdom of Buddha that were posted throughout the area.
I think Tinu should get a shirt that says "I Love Thailand!" This was our last day sharing the adventures of CCS and we were both feeling the pangs of saying goodbye to Thailand and so many new friends. I have more time traveling here but Tinu leaves the country on Sunday.
Among other treasures in the complex on the mountaintop is a Chinese goddess carved entirely of white jade. She towers over a temple containing bigger than life-size images of 8 Chinese gods.
The artwork and images throughout the compound were stunning.
This Chinese warrior is guarding the Jade goddess. Offerings can be made to him, too--probably to beg him not to lop off your head.
His red skin signifies anger. He doesn't look like a guy to cross!
Inside the Temple of the jade goddess, gold Buddha images form a pyramid for offerings.
Outside the temple, more images await. And Chinese dragons lead up to another Buddha.
You go up the steps through a dragon's mouth.
This fat, happy Buddha awaited us at the end of the dragons.
Now, do you see why it takes awhile to explore a wat (temple)?
Posted by KK at 2:36 AM