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Nestled in the charming district of Chiang Kham in Phayao province, Thailand, lies the enchanting Wat Nantaram. This 19th-century teakwood temple is a hidden gem that showcases the unique Burmese architectural style, setting it apart from the traditional Lanna design commonly found in the region. With its rich history, fascinating artifacts, and serene atmosphere, Wat Nantaram is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a glimpse into the cultural heritage of Tambon Yuan.
While the exact origins and construction date of Wat Nantaram remain uncertain, the temple's original roof was made from "Ya Kha," a type of grass known as Imperata Cylindrica. This led to the temple being initially named "Wat Chong Kha." However, the temple's current name is derived from Pho Thao Nanta, a devout Buddhist and member of the wealthy Wonganan family. Pho Thao Nanta generously funded the renovation and expansion of the temple complex, ensuring its preservation for future generations.
The main structure of Wat Nantaram is the Viharn, also known as the Assembly Hall. Built in 1925, this hall features an intricately designed multi-tiered roof, showcasing the exquisite craftsmanship of the Burmese architectural style. Inside the Viharn, visitors will find the revered Phra Chao Nang Din, a seated Buddha statue in the Bhumisparsha Mudra position. Unlike other Buddha images, Phra Chao Nang Din rests directly on the temple floor, symbolizing its deep connection to the earth.
Aside from the Viharn, the temple complex also includes a chedi (a sacred tower containing relics), an Ubosot (Ordination Hall), and a small museum displaying ancient artifacts and local handicrafts. Exploring these structures provides a fascinating insight into the religious and cultural significance of Wat Nantaram.
Wat Nantaram not only houses religious artifacts but also boasts a collection of everyday items from the past. Visitors can marvel at old black-and-white televisions and wooden cowbells, offering a glimpse into the lives of the local community in bygone eras. These unique displays add an extra layer of charm and authenticity to the temple complex, making it a truly immersive experience.
To fully appreciate the beauty and tranquility of Wat Nantaram, it is recommended to visit during the early morning or late afternoon when the temple is bathed in soft golden light. The peaceful ambiance and the absence of crowds allow for a more intimate and contemplative experience.
While in Chiang Kham, be sure to explore the surrounding area. Phayao Lake, located just a short distance away, offers stunning views and opportunities for boat rides. Additionally, the district is known for its traditional Thai Lue houses, some of which have been transformed into museums, showcasing the customs and traditions of the Thai Lue people.
Wat Nantaram in Chiang Kham, Phayao, is a hidden treasure that captivates visitors with its unique Burmese architectural style, rich history, and cultural significance. From the intricate design of the Viharn to the fascinating collection of everyday artifacts, this temple offers a truly immersive experience. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a cultural explorer, or simply seeking a serene escape, a visit to Wat Nantaram is sure to leave a lasting impression.
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