A wat (derived from Pali and Sanskrit word avasa word avasatha) is a monastery temple in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. The word "wat" (Thai วัด) (sometimes rendered "vat" when referring to Laos) means "school." Strictly speaking a wat is a Buddhist sacred precinct with monks' rooms, the temple itself, a building housing a great image of Buddha, and a class structure. A Buddhist site without at least three resident monks can not correctly be described as a wat, although the term is often used more flexibly, including the ruins of ancient temples. (As a verb transitive or intransitive, wat means to measure, to take action, comparison templum, which has the same root as the template).
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Phra Borommathl at Mueang Nakhon
Associate Professor Srisak Vanliphodom affirms that Prna Borommathat Chedi, the original pagoda of Nakhon Si Thammarat province, is an old structure in the Lankan style, although it is said to be encased beneath a newer pagoda. This ancient edifice was built in the la" century when Mueang Nakhon (today Nakhon Si Thammaraf) was the capital city of the South. Originally, smaller pagodas could be found at the four corners and around it; its base is decorated with elephant figures whose heads peak out cf recesses.
Phra Borommathat Chedi is considered symbolic of the past glory of Nakhon Si Thammarat. Also a model for many other pagodas built in succeeding periods, it has influenced the artistic and architectural styles of other pagodas in the central and northern regions of Thailand.
Prior to the reign of King Chulalongkon (Rama V), Phra Borommathat Chedi was left unattended. The Venerable Pan, a Buddhist monk, volunteered to lead southern residents in a quest to conduct major renovation work between 1894 and 1398. Later-, for his contributions to the renovations, he was bestowed the title of Phra Klant Thep Muni Si Suwannathupaphiban.
The temple housing the pagoda has variously been called Wat Phra Bcrommathat, Wet Phra That, or Wat Phra Maha That. Later, when King Wachirawut (Rama VI) visited Nakhon Si Thammarat in 1915 he graciously bestowed its present name of Wat Phra Maha That Worarnahawihan, upgrading it to a royal temple of the first class in that same year.
Today, it is one of Thailand's most historical sites and is regarded as a spiritual syrnbol for Buddhists in Thailand and other countries, especially Malaysia. Several merit-making ceremonies are held each year to pay homage to the pagoda. For example, a procession bearing a religious cloth to wrap around the pagoda is arranged during the Makha Bucha festival. It is believed this practice brings good fortune and success. The Festival of the Tenth Lunar Month is another grand event.Several fine Wihans, built during the Ayutthaya period are found within this temple and there is an interesting legend that when the pagoda is bathed in sunlight, no shadow forms on the ground; so it is often referred to as 'the pagoda without a shadow'