Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Thai Buddhist temple, Penang, Malaysia

 The capital of the gorgeous island of Penang,Malaysia is George town. It has many tourist sites along with a heritage city and two beautiful Buddhist temples. Though both temples are Buddhist, their origins are different and hence the design and the architecture of the both is different. Both temples are next to each other yet the experience is different and it is hard to say which is more prettier. 

Today I will take you to the Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram which is a Thai Buddhist temple. Build in a typical Thai temple architectural style, the temple has stunning ornate design and fine detailed carvings and statues stenciled with gold leaf. 

The front section has a huge compound .. Dragon headed flying serpents and traditional guards of Thai style  welcome you .. These are beautifully decorated with hues of maroon, emerald green, pink and blues with intricate gold work..

It has ornamented multiple roof tiers which is important element of any Thai temple. It is said that 2-5 tiers are must in Thai temple architecture while some royal temples have 4 tiers. 

As you step inside you will see beautiful lotus on the floor ..

In Buddhist scripture, it is said that after finishing his sermon , Buddha sat in the lotus position and meditated. Then white and red lotuses rained down from heaven and fell upon the Buddha and all those that had gathered to hear the Buddhas sermon. 

You can see the how big the lotus design on the temple floor by comparing its size with the people's feet..

The walls...

The cross hatched sections on the ceiling with ornate flowers in center..

The pillars stenciled with bodhi leaf design with gold leaf .. The pink lotus shaped candles were lit by deities at the feet of  the Buddha..Even the windows and doors had a delicate wrought iron design in shape of lotus painted in red and green..

The Reclining Buddha statue is 33 meters in length..painted with gold leaf.. It is said that the significance behind the reclining Buddha is that the head pointing northwards- resting in the palm of the right hand symbolizes enlightenment or Nirvana. Also Buddha's one hand is pointing towards earth and other towards heaven signifying link between earth and heaven.

The Reclining Buddha is in the main hall which is the main attraction. In the other side of temple there are several statues of Buddhas from all over the world, small prayers rooms are at the back and also there is a  huge beautiful mural on the wall depicting the tree of life and meditating Buddha in the lotus position. Outside the front section is another smaller ornate temple, a Malay/Nyonya style house. Also there is a nine-storey pagoda which is approximately 165 feet high. 

We went here some 1.5 year back..Glad that I have finally documented it before I forget the details!! While I was digging some information about Thai temple architecture I found two lovely blogs about Buddhist temples, if you are interested in beautiful temple architectures then definitely visit them:

Dale's Korean temple adventours and
way of design


Reva said...

Awesome Purnima... lovely post..:)) There is so much to learn from architecture from our past..

notyet100 said...

Beautiful post,..:)

indiamap said...

Like this place,similar Buddha temple in India also, But I don't know exactly where it is

liju philip said...

btw, did you try the penang laksa? also if you are interested in buddhist temples, a visit to thailand is a must. i was in bangkok in 2009 and took some pics of the temples. click my link to see the pics there.