Wat Pa Phurithatta Thirawat (วัดป่าภูริทัตตถิราวาส) is one of Sakon Nakhon's most important temples. It is located about 1 hour west of downtown Sakon Nakhon. Although it doesn't look too far from Phra That Phu Phek and Wat Tham Kham on a map, it is still close to an hour from those destinations as well, because you have to go around the mountain to arrive the temple.
Wat Pa Phurithatta Thirawat is situated in the Kammatthan forest. When you arrive at the temple via directions from Google Maps , you will arrive at a gate that is likely wclosed. Turn left at the gate and follow the small road around the temple walls, following the Parking and Chedi/Jedi signs that inevitably will appear.
The defining feature of Wat Pa Phurithatta Thirawat is the Great Chedi of Luang Pu Man (มหาเจดีย์หลวงปู่มั่น), which is named in honor of Ajaan Man Phurithatto (also spelled Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta), who along with Ajahn Sao Kantasīlo founded the Thai Forest Tradition of Buddhism in Northeast Thailand. On the balcony area around the Great Chedi, there are 63 statues of monks who were students of Ajahn Mun.
Ajahn Mun spent five Buddhist Lent periods at the temple from 1945-1949, when the temple was named Wat Santiwanaram. After his death in 1949, the name of the temple was changed to Wat Pa Phurithatta Thirawat in his honor. An important day of celebration at the temple is November 10th, when local worshipers pay respects and show their gratitude to Ajahn Mun, as well as parents and teachers who have passed away.
The basement of the Great Chedi building is unusually striking, being filled with beautiful concrete sculptures of ancient trees that act as architectural support columns. These trees surround a concrete cave sculpture, which hides a spiral staircase that leads to the floor above. This cave is symbolic of the cave in which Phra Ajahn Louis Chanthasaro stayed in 1933 when visiting the area (before the temple was built). An avant-garde pagoda museum honoring Ajahn Louis can be found at Wat Pha Suttawas, which is also home to a museum with relics of Ajahn Mun.
Browse our full photo gallery of the temple at: Wat Pa Phurithattiwat Photo Gallery.