Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan
Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan, is actually a Buddhist temple in the province of Chachoengsao, about 80km east of Bangkok and a 1 hour 30 minute drive from my home town of Banglamung near Pattaya.
It houses one of the most revered Buddha images in Thailand known as "Luang Por Sothon" which means the "venerable father of Sothon".
There is a interesting story surrounding how the statue of Luang Por Sothon came to be at Wat Sothon.
Legend has it that 3 Buddha images were found floating along the Chao Phraya River towards the Bang Pakong River, where local villagers tried in vain, to tie the statues together and bring them ashore.
The statues continued on their watery journey until fortune smiled upon the inhabitants of Ban Leam who were able to retrieve one of them. The second statue was rescued at the town of Bang Phlee and the final statue was brought ashore at Sothon and taken to the local templ,e where it has remained to this day.
One of the highlights of Wat Sothon is its spectacular "ubosoth" or ordination hall which is 84 metres high and crowned with golden umbrellas. The hall took 15 years to build and was opened to the public in 2004.
The building is very striking, not just because of the sheer size, but also due to its decorative style. The exterior is pale grey and gold which is in stark contrast to most other Thai temples.
The interior is unqiue mixture of contemporary and traditional styles. The floor is covered with marble from Carrara in Italy and features images of animals and mythical creatures carrying lotus stalks.
There is a secondary building on site where visitors can pray and make offerings. It is common for people who have experienced good fortune after praying at the temple, to return and bring gifts of eggs to offer their thanks. The prayer hall has a number of Buddha images and other relics which vistors rub with gold leaf as a mark of honour and respect
I always urge people who visit temples in Thailand to dress and act respectfully. I amazes me the number of people who I have seen entering places of worship here in Thailand dressed in beach wear or other inappropriate attire. I can cause great offence if you show too much flesh when you visit a temple!!!!