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Wat Chalong (Wat Chaiyataram), Phuket

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Wat Chalong, PhuketWat Chalong, Phuket (12 July, 2004)

Wat Chalong (GPS: 7.84687, 98.33691), or by its official name Wat Chaiyataram, is the biggest Buddhist temple in Phuket. It is located 8 km outside Phuket Town. It is not known for sure when Wat Chalong was first built. Existing records trace the temple's history to 1837, the date it was rebuilt.The temple covers an area of over 500 rai. (Rai, a Thai land measurement, approximates 1600 square meters. Another Thai land measurement is Talang Wah, which is about 4 square meters. 1 rai = 400 talang wah.) Evidence indicates that the original temple structure of Wat Chalong is located on the northern corner of the present temple compound. The only thing that remains from that original temple is a Buddha statue, the Luang Pho Chao Wat image, which is housed in a viharn (assembly hall) between the stupa and the main viharn.

Buddha image in Wat Chalong (12 July 2004)
© Timothy Tye

In 1846, Wat Chalong was accorded royal status, and was given the name Wat Chaiyataram. However, the fame of Wat Chalong came about because of its resident monk, Luang Pho Saem (also written Luang Pro Chaem), who was attributed with great healing powers. He served at the abbot of Wat Chalong until his death in 1908. The abbots who succeeded Luang Pho Saem continued to practise healing, upholding the status and fame of the temple.

In the temple today are three wax models of their revered monks. One of these is Luang Pho Saem, the renowned doctor and setters of bones. The monk helped the people of Phuket put down the rebellion of the Angyee (Chinese coolies) in 1876, during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). The other two wax models are that of Luang Por Chuang and Luang Por Gluam.

The buildings in the Wat Chalong complex includes viharn (assembly hall), ubosot (ordination hall), monthop (pavilion) and sala (hall). Most of these were the work of Phra Maha Fuang Suchanonatho, a skilled draftsman who also became an abbot of Wat Chalong in 1978.

A sacred relic of the Buddha is also kept in Wat Chalong. It is housed at a repository beneath the stupa of Phramahathat Chedi (mahathat means "great relic stupa"). The Phramahathat Chedi was built between 1998 and 2001, and follow the architectural style of the famous Tat Phanom stupa of Nakhon Phanom Province.

Wat Chalong can be particularly busy and crowded during feast days which usually take place in mid December. For a period of one week, the temple is transformed into a fair ground.

Getting there

Coming from the north / Phuket City, use Route 4022 followed by Chao Fah Tawan Tok Road, then turn in to Luang Pho Chaem Road. You might need to ask the locals if unsure of direction. Note that three roads surrounding Wat Chalong is numbered Route 4021, which can be rather confusing.

Wat Chalong, PhuketA chedi at Wat Chalong. (12 July, 2004)

Wat Chalong, PhuketDrum tower of Wat Chalong. (12 July, 2004)

Wat Chalong, PhuketFront façade of the viharn of Wat Chalong. (12 July, 2004)

Wat Chalong, PhuketThe roof ridge finials, called cho fa and the spire, of Wat Chalong. (12 July, 2004)

Wat Chalong, PhuketElephant statue decked with floral garlands. (12 July, 2004)

Wat Chalong, PhuketEntrance to the viharn of Wat Chalong. (12 July, 2004)

Wat Chalong, PhuketInterior of the viharn, or shrine hall, of Wat Chalong. (12 July, 2004)

Wat Chalong, PhuketThe grounds of Wat Chalong. (12 July, 2004)

Wat Chalong, PhuketWestern-style garden at Wat Chalong. (12 July, 2004)

Wat Chalong, PhuketPhra Borom Sareerikatat, the sacred relic at Wat Chalong, said to be a fragment of a bone of the Buddha. (12 July, 2004)

Wat Chalong, PhuketWax likeness a revered monk at Wat Chalong. (12 July, 2004)

Wat Chalong, PhuketWax likeness a revered monk at Wat Chalong. (12 July, 2004)

Wat Chalong, PhuketWax likeness a revered monk at Wat Chalong. (12 July, 2004)

Wat Chalong is on the map of Sights in Phuket

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