Part 2 of 4
Unique Villages, Ban Chiang
and the Naga Temple
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Steve Gillick and Mitsuru Sasaki
Near Khon Kaen - the Sai Ngam Banyan Tree and Shrine
Sai Ngam is the largest banyan grove in Thailand, spanning an area of some 1,350 square
metres. The Buddha is believed to have become enlightened under a type of banyan
known as “sacred fig” or “Bodhi tree”.
Sai Ngam is considered sacred by locals, and thought to be occupied by a powerful spirit.
They regularly offer incense sticks and colourful streams of flower garlands to the spirit
house near Sai Ngam’s original 350-year-old trunk.
A family celebrates at one of the shrines at Sai Ngam
A small market sells statuettes of holy men and good-luck
spirits for home alters and spirit houses
Heading in thew direction of Udon Thani we stopped to
appreciate the scenery and visit a roadside market. The
temperature was in the mid-30's C (90F) so this dog obviously
had the right idea, in between guarding the cows.
Kamchanod is believed to be the home and entrance to the underground world of a mythical
Nāga, a giant serpent who legend says breathed fireballs into the sky to form steps for
Buddha to descend to heaven.
The great Nāga lives deep in the waters of the lake which surround a densely forested island called
Wang Nakhin (Nāga Palace) which is connected to the temple grounds by a 100 metre bridge guarded
on each side by two seven-headed serpents.
Shrines on the island, where visitors pray to the Great Naga and to Buddha
Flower garlands around the Chanot trees pay homage to the
Naga and carry blessings of good fortune
Visitors rub their hands quickly in circles on the gongs to make them 'sing';
a sound that appeases the Great Naga and brings good fortune
Veneration at one of the
statues of a holy man
Auspicious markings on the chanot trees. Families gather to 'interpret' the markings
which reveal numbers that may correspond to winning lottery tickets!
Morning scene in Nakhon Phanom
End o Part 2—Next we visit Sakon Nakorn and Nakhon Phanom.