Photo Gallery & Impressions 19a

PHOTO SAMPLER - Wats (Buddhist temples) near campus - Jul.-Sep.

Anyone who visits Thailand cannot help but notice the many, many colorful Buddhist temples that are found all over this country.  There are thousands of such temples or "wats" here.  We have shared many photos of several we have visited during our time in this country - ranging from the very plain "humble" temple that we visited after the Ban Pong candle parade (Album 5) to the very famous and ornate Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Album 20a).  Here we would like to share some photos of some of the less famous temples that we visited in the Ban Pong area of north Ratchaburi Province.  With the exception of the first 2, we have not previously shared any photos of these temples near Ban Pong.  To help keep straight which photos apply to which wat, they have all been given a number.

1. In our very first photo album we mentioned some of the College staff taking us on an outing to visit a wat that is associated with some famous bat caves. Here a fellow practices an unfamiliar game in front of the temple complex where we took that previously presented photo.

1. This is Wat Khao Chong Phram located some distance southwest of BanPong. Peg took this picture to share with our cattle raising Norwegian friends. We are not sure of the significance of these water buffaloes. 

1. We were impressed when, right on time (around 6 PM), hundreds, then thousands, then millions of bats emerged from the cave behind this wat.  This went on for over an hour as the multitude of bats came out for their night of feeding.

1. These bats darken the sky as they fly away from the cave & hillside.  The sound & smell from so many bats are obvious. It takes much more than an hour for the almost 3 million bats to emerge.

2. In the same general area southwest of Ban Pong we visited a Chinese Buddhist temple complex known as Wat Nong-Hoi. This complex sits atop a couple of prominent hills. We were brought here by our friend Jing.

2. Here Ted & Keith apply gold leaf at a holy shrine.  This can bring them "good fortune" & help relieve many ills. They also like to show their respect for this rich spiritual culture.

2. Here we were able to view one of the largest Guan Yin statues.  Guan Yin (spelled many different ways) is the ancient "Goddess of Mercy" or bodhisattva ("Buddhistic prophet")

2. Susan, shown at the top of the steps in the previous photo, gets this close-up showing the workmen with the job of cleaning this gigantic image.

2. Walking out in the open, we get this view of a multi-storied Buddha image on a neighboring hilltop.

2. Walking further out to another point on this mountain top, we come to the large image of the "happy Buddha" with the prominent belly. Ted posed nearby in the photo we presented previously. Here Ted & Jing pose with the fertile farmlands of Ratchaburi Province in the backgound.

3. On a later date, while riding the motorcycle out almost 5 km southwest of the campus, we came across this temple. Notice the large drum that is usually part of such a temple complex.

4. About 4 km north of wat #3 we find this larger temple complex. We were told that it might have been the monks from this temple that donated the land for our Nursing College.  We decided to spend a little more time at this wat.

4. Here we see the drum & bell tower playing a prominent role in this complex.

4. Keith is always attracted to these big guards that are often found on temple grounds.

4. Peg also gets a chance to pose with some more holy images.

5. Circling back to the north & heading back toward the campus, we come across this nearby wat situated near the canal. There were a couple more wats in this general area. We passed them often but never took pictures.

6. Finally we found the wat we had been hearing from our campus house. This was the closest wat, but were unable to find the road in to it until just before we were to move in to town.  This wheel of life was featured near its entrance.

6. This wat had a major construction project underway as they were adding another tower to one of the main buildings.  

6. Very colorful Nagas lined the stairways to this temple building.

6. We found this small but ornate crematory of interest & very photogenic.

6. As with most of these temple complexes, this one also included a rural school. We enjoyed exchanging English greetings with the students here.

7. On another motorcycle ride farther south of the campus we came across this very interesting entrance to a wat.

7. Of the two large folks guarding this entrance, Keith was attracted to the obviously feminine one.

7. Venturing past the guards, we come to this attractive pagoda hidden in the trees.

7. Farther in we come to an opening with these temple buildings. More buildings that look much older are nestled back in the trees.

8. On a lunchtime outing, Jing brings Keith to another Chinese temple across the river from, & just south of, Ban Pong. Here he is trying his hand at shaking a stick out of this container to learn his "fortune."

8. It takes him 3 tries but he finally gets a "fortune" that is acceptable & bodes well for future traveling. This was important as we were soon to leave Ban Pong.

Return to Photo Index

Hit Counter