Wat Maha Phrom Phothirat (วัดมหาพรหมโพธิราช) is the most prominent temple in the Ban That Wat community, which has been living on the western side of Nong Han Lake's southeastern tail for over 300 years — and is an area which previously was home to members of the ancient Khmer Kingdom, whose relics are stored within the temple. It is located about 40 minutes from Sakon Nakhon city.
Wat Maha Phrom Phothirat (which also goes by the nickname Wat Neua) has continually developed to become a popular tourist attraction among local Thais, as well as Bangkok residents who fly up to explore the province. An added attraction is the availability of large rafts for rent on both sides of the temple grounds. Visitors can rent a raft (which seats about 10 people) all day for only 800-1000 baht, depending on the vendor and time of year.
Wat Maha Phrom Phothirat translates to the Temple of the Great Brahma Royal Bo Tree, Brahma being the creator God in Hinduism and the Bo Tree being the tree under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment. Accordingly the temple has a large 4-armed Brahma statue near the shoreline, behind which are twenty arms and hands holding different elements of creation, including a Buddha sitting in the pose of meditation.
Wat Maha Phrom Phothirat honors its Khmer heritage with a large pedestal made of ancient laterite stones found on the temple grounds, atop which sits a large Dharma wheel. If you are interested in Khmer era ruins, we would suggest visiting Phra That Phu Phek in the Phu Phan Mountains and Phrathat Narai Cheng Weng in downtown Sakon Nakhon.
Behind the Khmer pedestal, to the right, is a beautiful gold Buddha statue sitting within a five-headed Naga serpent. And as is customary with lakeside temples, the Naga is positioned facing the lake, which according to local legend is home to the mythical Nagas. Thus at the nearby temple of Wat Klang Si Chiang Mai, you will find literally dozens of large Naga w/ Buddha statues, as well as a striking Naga statue on the shoreline of the neighboring Wat Pa Eo Kan temple.
Wat Maha Phrom Phothira's focal point is a tall white pagoda that houses ancient relics and which looks similar to the famous Phra That Phanom in Nakhon Phanom. Like its more famous relative, the pagoda is viewed as a heritage symbol of the local people and their long history in this area of Isaan, the Northeastern region of Thailand.
View more photos at Wat Maha Phrom Phothirat photo gallery.