As the name suggests, Wat Pa Ban Khamin (วัดป่าบ้านขมิ้น) is a forest temple in the Sakon Nakhon sub-district of Khamin. It is walking distance from another charming rural temple worth visiting Don Tham Priest's Camp Site, also known as Wat Pa Don Tham, about 20 minutes from Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University (SNRU).
Wat Pa Ban Khamin is a good example of why you can't simply rely on Google Maps when organizing a temple tour of Sakon Nakhon. On Google Maps this quaint, little temple has no reviews and no photos. Yet it is a temple we were very happy to have visited. Sometimes a single Buddhist or Hindu sculpture is so unusual and memorable that it makes the whom trip. That was just case with Wat Pa Ban Khamin, which is home a truly distinctive sculpture of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha, who is known in Thailand as Phra Pikanet (พระพิฆเนศ).
Ganesha sculptures are occasionally on display at Sakon Nakhon temples, as local Thais (especially business people) will petition Ganesha for good luck when launching a new venture, helping to remove any obstacle in their way. However, it is not as popular as the Naga serpent god, who is a protector of the good fortune that you already possess.
In Thailand, there are some spectacular representations of Ganesha, such as the huge Ganesha statue at the Lord Ganesha Temple in Chachoengsao province. However, our favorite representation of Ganesha is the quirky one found on the grounds of Wat Pa Ban Khamin. This blue and gold, weather beaten, Ganesha, with a plant growing out of his head, has a personality and character that is truly memorable.
Placed upon a volcanic rock, atop a gold base, next to a small pavilion housing a gold Buddha image, the Ganesha at Wat Pa Ban Khamin vividly demonstrates the imagination and artistry of those who create the statues for Sakon Nakhon temples. In other words, if you are going on a Sakon Nakhon arts tour, you should not only visit the Thongthawapee Art Gallery at SNRU and arts promoting coffeehouses like The Art Hopper, but the many forest, city, and mountain temples of the province.