While the bus was racing south, I kept an eye open to the landscape passing by, not knowing exactly where to get off. As soon as I saw the top an old temple, I knew that I had arrived and asked the driver to stop. I had breakfast, and when I mounted my rented bike, the early morning sun was just starting to add colour and life to my surroundings. I cycled towards the tower I had seen, crossed a great suspension bridge, and parked my bike on the other side - a lock had not been given to me. I had arrived at the early 13th century temple of Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat Chaliang, right on the border of the Yon river.
I entered the complex through a low opening in the old wall, which was topped by a decorative stucco. Long shadows of pillars and moist grass confirmed the early hour of the day, and there was no one else in the complex. I admired the finely carved silent Buddhas, one of which was towering high above me. When I climbed the temple on the steep stairs, I felt the power of the sun piercing in my back. As I reached the top, I discovered three still-born dog babies lying at the entrance of the shrine, all covered in ants, completely out of tune with the silence and peace of the temple.
As I turned around, I saw the temple complex below me, the head of the enormous Buddha inside, and the surrouding green landscape. I continued walking around the temple, saw a sleeping female dog, probably the mother who lost her babies, walked up the old chedi behind the main temple, and saw the enormous standing Buddhas. When I returned to the main temple, I saw the first monk climbing up the stairs, and I knew that an ugly surprise was waiting for him at the shrine. While he started cleaning up, the first visitors appeared, and it was time for me to leave. The serenity and peacefulness of the place made this start of the day a perfect one.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat Chaliang (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat Chaliang.
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