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Wat Pa Kittiyanusorn

A forest wat in Khon Kaen province

We headed out today to try and find some specific long bean seeds for the farm rumoured to be in rural shops located around a small town called Phu Wiang, an 45 minute drive from us.

The long beans didn’t work out but there was a wat outside the town that I wanted to show Yuan and Lud. Luckily we arrived on a day they were preparing for a large festival on the 31st and lots was happening. Great photos so dive in.

My third wat in three days. Nine is the Thai lucky number so only six to go

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Building in Thailand eBook

When my wife and I bought some land in Isaan, which is a region in the north east of Thailand, and then started to build our house I wanted to record the daily events of construction life. For twenty six weeks I wrote a weekly blog update about all the aspects of the build and included as much detail as possible for others who might be thinking of going down the same path. I was surprised by the number of readers I attracted as a result of writing on this subject, many of whom followed the entire build from beginning to end. 

Based on this continued interest I thought I would revisit my original words and bring them all together under the one heading in the form of an eBook. Included in this process has been some extensive updating and expansion of many of the original posts and the addition of the many COMMENTS, which are designed to expand your knowledge and save you time or money or both!

Read more HERE and find out how to obtain the eBook.

I am loving your book – just on my second read at the moment, to make sure that I didn’t miss anything first time around (which actually it turns out I did!).  

Just a note of thanks at this point ……. I am a fairly methodical sort of bloke, but there are many issues which your book highlights which I just wouldn’t have thought about – or if I had, I may well have assumed they were “standard” building practice [U-bends, drain positioning, barge-board alignment] – if it hadn’t been for your excellent descriptions!!  I will probably still “miss” something – that’s the nature of building/design – but thanks to you, it shouldn’t be anything too mission-critical.

The income from my eBook pays for the upkeep of this blog, which is otherwise commercially free unlike so many others.

This wat is called วัดป่ากิตติญานุสรณ์ and that’s what shows on Google Maps. Luckily I have a Thai friend Supanan Sarakarn who kindly translated this into phonetic English as Wat Pa Kittiyanusorn. Thank you. You can find the wat on Google Maps HERE

The structures are basically split into two separate areas. Up front are the scenes you will mostly see on social media, being this building and the huge reclining Buddha (to come). For me the highlight is a new timber Buddha hall building hidden away at the back of these along with many other structures.

Around every corner there is something else to photograph.

The shrine area underneath that chedi (tower) in the first photo.

Great detailing. 

This is a Pa or forest wat, although it you wouldn’t pick it from this sort of presentation. What it does guarantee is a well maintained and orderly wat plus this one has heaps of money coming in and the quality reflects that.

The photo you will see most often. Yes, the skies were that colour today. The smoke haze has lifted for one day anyway. Lucky us.

I took this photo in November 2016 of this sole guy crafting this relief on the long wall under the Buddha.

Here’s his finished work.

The room underneath the big Buddha is full of dsplay cases in very low light. They have lots of things that could be of interest if one could see them and as there are no inscriptions as to what items are or why they are there it is all a bit of a waste.

Photo editing allows you (and me) to see these cases but in real life they are sat in almost darkness.

OK, so leaving the front we walked into the area behind the main structure, which is largely planted up with clumps of bamboo. Unfortunately, like so much else this time of year the bamboo have lost their leaves so it isn’t as lush as normal. I liked this lean, mean monking machine. Built low for speed.

And here it is in action. Yes, it has a reverse! The monks were as busy as the villagers (mostly). Forest wat monks get involved hands-on.

A couple of exceptions. Maybe management. Watching other people work and having a chat. My sort of lifestyle.

Ong (Isaan waterpots) bamboo and a timber wat – how Thai is that!

Volunteers and monks were busy preparing for a festival maybe to commemorate the opening of this new building. This is a timber structure more in line with the forest wat philosophy although at a standard you won’t see too often.

Yuan bought us all ice creams.

Lud in a formal social occasion hardly talks at all, mainly because he is to busy eating. But in the everyday we always laugh because he has the natural ability to start a conversation with anyone. A genuinely friendly guy and others respond to that. Here’s Lud (in red) talking to someone who just happened to be around.

At the back of this area are even more buildings. Accommodation for monks I think as I didn’t explore.

Truck loads of flowers and plants were being shipped in and spread around. Decorations like these hanging mobiles were being made by ladies inside the Buddha hall. I haven’t seen them before and would like a few after the festival

This was still being constructed last time we were here last year. No expense spared and it has turned out brilliantly.

Spot the real monk! He’s inside that glass case cleaning it.

Unusual to see detailing of this quality in a small rural town wat or anywhere else come to that. Some real craftsmanship on display.

Outstanding.

A large beautiful jade coloured Buddha.

No words required for this and the next few photos.

Gaun sat down for a chat with the lady making the mobiles at the entrance. One of my newly favourite photos. Just love the colours.

These star shaped mobiles are made from coloured cotton wound onto frames by hand. Patience required.

You can see how the cotton and the frame interact here.

This yai (grandmother) wanted me to take a photo of her and a finished mobile shape.

A couple of examples of their work hanging outside.

Outside straw had been spread around, furniture stacked and the flowers were being positioned. If you want a party, Isaan people would be my number one pick to organise it.

Somehow Yuan and Lud got themselves involved. Earning some Buddhist merit points while on holiday

The beautiful Yuan – both inside and out.

Really enjoying herself. The spontaneity of life is so joyful to watch.

Filling in nicely.

Lud and Yuan and a couple of the villager volunteers who wanted their photo taken.

A beautiful timber bell tower at the back of this area.

Even the small shopping area is well presented.

And in true Isaan style I leave you on the topic of food. Here my family are enjoying the highlight of the visit – buying sausages for lunch 🙂

Yet another terrific wat hidden away in our local area. If you know where to go there are plenty of quality attractions and not one farang or Chinese tour group. Bliss.

Thank you for reading and please leave a comment. It’s the only payment I ask for.

Tony

7 Comments

  1. Greg Carroll

    A great way to start the day Tony – immersing ones’ self in your photos of this stunning wat.
    The quality of craftsmanship reminds me of byzantine churches and Islamic palaces such as the Alhambra. The level of detail is extraordinary. The mobiles add to the overall experience created by your photos, particularly the one where the lines of long pink squares seem to be gently swaying – as I said a very pleasant way to start the day.

    The quality and scale of the wat made me think about the way people donate. Given the level of funding to build such a magnificent complex is there a correlation between the monks and what they bring to the community? Or is it simply a matter of the strength of the local communities belief that makes them want to donate such large amounts of money?
    I’d be interested in your thoughts Tony

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Good to have the cycle of ‘I write/Greg comments’ back in action. This wat was better than average in the detailing and I did love the mobiles. I haven’t seen these generally for sale, which is a pity because they would be perfect for household decoration and if made in more durable material, for outside display.

      The level of donations seems to be related to the perceived charisma or maybe ‘holiness’ of the head monk rather than local support. I have been to many wats situated miles from anywhere and yet have established a huge infrastructure far beyond what any local ‘fan base’ could support. These places must be pulling in money from major centres like Bangkok and beyond. Wat Kham Chanot, a wat outside Udon Thani famous for its ability to help visitors predict lottery numbers by rubbing face powder into tree bark and donating to the shrines, pull in people from all over Thailand. My blog post HERE. I went to the end of Buddhist Lent festival at a small local temple (Wat Pa Silawa) whose abbot has a good reputation and they raised over 2 million baht in a morning. The big donations were coming from outsiders. Luckily Gaun doesn’t let the intrusion of my vast wealth change her donations and we end up contributing 100 baht, which is what she’d do if I wasn’t around. Sensible lady my Gaun.

      Cheers. Tony

      Reply
      • Greg Carroll

        Yuri added to your explanation Tony. She gave an example of an old monk, who was very famous from Wat Banrai called Luang Por Koon. He had rather colourful language and was known to strike those he was blessing with a piece of bamboo. Despite this he was enormously popular and the Wat prospered accordingly. After he died they struggled to attract the same level of funding. He obviously hadn’t put much thought into his successor…

        Reply
  2. Hans U. Ruediger

    As much as I sometimes wonder about the wisdom of spending all those donated for merit funds that it must take to build so many wats, I also must admit to being thoroughly impressed by the beauty and artistry on display at Wat Pa Kittiyanusorn.

    Rather like an appropriate frame for your photographic studies of the people in and around them, especially the older folks whose lined faces bear witness to the many years and experiences already behind them – and even better when contrasted with children and young adults, whose faces still await the larger imprint of life ……….. all of which I remember from your many previous delightful posts on village life.

    Make me appreciate all the more the kaleidoscope of life surrounding us. And thank you for all your superb pictured impressions to present the south-east-asian way of life for our cognizance.

    Cheers,
    Hans

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      I have the same mix of emotions as well Hans. The Buddha construction industry must form a fair percentage of the overall building industry in Thailand and the concept of ‘buying’ ones way to ‘heaven’ in whatever form you believe that to be, wasn’t part of Buddha, Christ or any other major religious leader’s intention. On the plus side there’s no other public architecture in Thailand worth photographing, so thank you for many blog posts on that score, and at least the money donated is spent locally employing people in construction to work on the ever expanding range of wat buildings.

      I do love the faces I photograph (thank you telephoto) because although the attractions available are limited the opportunities for capturing the characters of local people is endless.

      Thank you for your very kind words, which along with others are a reminder of why I continue to add to the blog and an inspiration to continue.

      Kind regards.

      Tony

      Reply
  3. Jim Busby

    Lots of good craftsmanship and artistry in this wat. Also, like most pa wats, very clean and neat. The relief work is top notch, and would be something I would consider having done at my house, if I had one, in Thailand. The bright colors of the mobiles and the flowers below, add just enough of a pop of color to that serene setting. Yuan and Lud getting more merit points, like all Isan people involved with their local wats.

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      I must update a blog post I did ages ago based on the best temples in Isaan, but narrow it down to say an hour’s drive from us. There are a great selection of styles and types available for visitors if they know where to look. The new hall out the back has certainly added to the attraction of this wat. On the list for when you drop in Jim.

      Reply

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