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Wat Sawang Hua Na Kham – Kalasin Temples

Wat Sawang Hua Na Kham (วัดสว่างหัวนาคำ) is one of the most sacred temples of Kalasin province, with a history that stretches back to 1729. The new temple that sits on the grounds has been under development for about the past 15 years.

The temple’s most striking feature is its new ordination hall, “Ubosot Isaan Mai Panchat” (อุโบสถสิมอีสานไม้พันชาติ). The Ubosot owes its origin to a vision which Luang Phor Phrakru Sripariyatchotitham (หลวงพ่อพระครูศรีปริยัติโชติธรรม) had, and was created with the help of local and nationwide hardwood donations.

This Ubosot or Sim (as it’s often called in Isaan) is unique for blending Northern Lanna style architecture with the ancient Lan Chang style native to Northeast Thailand.

The Lan Chang style originated from the Lan Xang Kingdom in Southeast Asia (14th-18th century), and is characterized by Buddhist temples with multi-tiered roofs and intricate wood carvings. Lan Chang art includes graceful sculptures of Buddha and mythical creatures, while decorative arts like wood carving and weaving showcase intricate patterns inspired by nature and Buddhist symbolism

The construction of the Sim at Wat Sawang Hua Na Kham was finished in 2018, and took 9 years to complete, at a cost of 30 million baht (approx. 815K USD). It was built by local villagers and monks under the supervision of Luang Pho Phrakru Sripariyatchotitham (หลวงพ่อพระครูศรีปริยัติโชติธรรม), an expert in Northern Lanna arts and architecture, as well as the Lan Chang style.

 

Lan Chang Art Style
The large wooden doors of Wat Sawang Hua Na Kham are engraved with Buddhist iconography that reflects the ancient Lan Chang art style.

Sacred Buddha Statues in Kalasin

Wat Sawang Hua Na Kham also is home to one of Thailand’s most sacred Buddha statues: Luang Phor Pho Sriwilai (หลวงพ่อโพธิ์ศรีวิไลย์), also known as Luang Phor Somprathana (หลวงพ่อสมปรารถนา). The centuries-old statue of the Buddha was originally discovered buried at Wat Sri Wilai (วัดศรีวิไลย์) in neighboring Sakon Nakhon province, Thailand’s spiritual mecca.

In 2013, it was brought to the temple by Phra Ajarn Mahawat Witthanamethi (พระอาจารย์มหาวัฒน์ วิวฑฺฒนเมธี), who had artisans restore the statue by adding a layer of lacquering and gilding it with gold. The inside of the statue is believed to contain relics of the Buddha, as it’s said to have been associated with many amazing miracles. According to Ajarn Mahawat, when you make merit before this Buddha, tens of thousands of angels are watching over and caring for you.

The Luang Phor Pho Sriwilai Buddha is not the statue that you’ll find enshrined within the Ubosot, as it is only brought out for special occasions. The temple’s main Buddha statue located inside Ubosot Isaan Mai Panchat is Luang Phor Phra Phutthawichaiyan (หลวงพ่อพุทธวิชัยญาณ), also known by local villagers as Luang Pu Yai (หลวงปู่ใหญ่). This ancient statue of the Buddha was created in the Lan Chang style around 300 years ago.

Although you can’t get close enough to Luang Pu Yai to examine the Lan Chang art style, you can visit a large replica of this Buddha in the nearby “Wihan Hor Phra” (วิหารหอพระ), a wooden pagoda designed in the Lan Xang architectural style. This large replica of the statue was carved from a single block of stone in 2007.

 

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David Alan
Sakon Nakhon Isaan