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Wat Maha Puttharam (วัดมหาพุทธาราม) is one of Sisaket’s most scared temples, as it houses Luang Por Toh (หลวงพ่อโต) a large, gold Buddha image in the attitude of subduing Mara — the demon who tempted Gautama Buddha beneath the Bodhi tree, as he was seeking enlightenment. The statue stands almost 7 meters meters high and 3.50 meters wide. It encases a small doll like statue of the Khmer era, which was carved from stone over a 1000 years ago.

According to legend, the stone statue was found in a forest that was being cleared during the founding of Sisaket city. When an elder tried to embrace the statue, it seemed to miraculously grow big. The large Buddha statue of Luang Por Toh, which is inside the Viharn of Wat Maha Puttharam, was subsequently built around the stone carving to signify its miraculous ability to enlarge itself. Because of this famous statue, which local Buddhists make a pilgrimage to throughout the year, the temple also goes by the name Wat Phra Toh (วัดพระโต).

Wat Maha Puttharam’s temple grounds are guarded by two striking sculptures of Yaksha giants, whose beauty rivals those you see at more famous temples in Thailand. The gorgeous Viharn that houses Luang Por To features a Garuda carrying the Buddha on the gable of the building, and the upper inside walls are adorned with lovely murals depicting scenes from the life of the Buddha.

Sisaket city is about a 4.5 hour drive from Sakon Nakhon, so not suitable for a day trip. But if you are on an extended stay in Sakon Nakhon, it would be a worthwhile destination for a weekend trip. Wat Maha Puttharam is only about a 10 minute drive from Phrathat Ruang Rong, the large temple and Isaan museum. You also could drive 1 hour to the neighboring province of Ubon Ratchathani and visit the truly stunning Wat Tai Phrachao Yai Ong Tue, which one could explore for hours.

Sisaket City – Temple Attractions

David Alan