Wat Chayamangkalaram Temple is the largest Siamese temple in Penang and it also known as the Temple of Reclining Buddha of Penang. It has a very ideal location, Lorong Burmah (Burmah Lane), which is in between of Georgetown and Batu Feringghi area and it’s just opposite the Burmese Temple. This temple was built by a Buddhist monk who came from Thailand. It has five acres of land which is donated by Queen Victoria at the year of 1845, was to as gesture of goodwill to Thailand and the Thai community. It was presented by Mr. W.L.Butterworth of the East India Company of Penang on July 22, 1845. The main shrine and the pagoda were built in the year 1900 after the land was granted on behalf of her Majesty Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 30th May 1845 by W.L.Butterworth. The main shrine of Chinese influence structure stood serving for 88years until renovation became necessary. The first monk was a Theravada Buddhist monk from Thailand, Phorthan Kuat, also known as the “Powerful Monk”. The legend about the monk tells us, that he was very fond of “Laksa”, one of the local famous foods of Penang. Even today devotees bring a bowl of laksa as an offering to his shrine. Before you enter the temple, the temple already offers picturesque sight of Penang as the structure has the traditional colours that features traditional Thai design – elegantly soaring, curved roofs, lots of gold paint and plenty of ornamentation. The exterior of Wat Chaya temple are decorated with shiny and blinking ornaments which is a vibrant display colours and artistic design. The floor of this temple is embellished with tiles of lotus patterns. Lotus has its symbolic significance: it is an important symbol in Buddhism. The internal of Chaya Temple is a serene and peaceful place and they are decorated with ornaments and floral carvings painted in gold and rainbow colors. Apart from the main statue of Buddha there are a few thousand Buddha in the temple, fitted in the walls of the temple. The pagoda had ever since retained its original design and structure. In the year 1910, the consecration and laying of sacred stones ( Loog Nimitin Thai) was celebrated. These sacred stone were buried beneath the little pagodas around the shrine and the pagoda. At the entrance of the main shrine, there are statues of gigantic “naga” serpents, mystical creatures that link earth to heaven. This Thai architecture houses a 180-foot, which is 33 meters long reclining Buddha, Pra Buddhachaiya Mongkul, draped in a gold-leafed Saffron colored robe which is the 3rd largest reclining Buddha in the world. The reclining Buddha is placed in the main shrine which is simple elongated rectangular building with a high-pinched roof. Reclining Buddha representing the Buddha’s death and symbolizes complete peace and detachment from the world. This reclining Buddha is only built in year 1958, in conjunction with the 2500th anniversary of the birth of the Buddha, with a cost of RM 100,000. The temple gets the name of The Reclining Buddha Temple due to this statue. In the reclining position, Buddha lies on its right side with its head resting in the palm of its right hand to the North. He sleeps by turning His body to the right side and placing His left leg put over the right one. This position on the couch symbolizes the Mahaparinirvana (Enlighthenment or achieving Nirwana) of the Buddha took place at Kushinagara (Uttar Pradesh, India). A peaceful half-smile gracing Its serene face. Behind the statue are pigeon-holes where urns containing ashes of devotees are stored. The legend of the Lord Gautama Buddha’s life has been painted on the walls by leading Thai artists. There are a few thousands Buddha in the temple, not only the main ones, but also the smaller ones, which filled the walls of the temple. They’re including After step out from the main shrine, at the right hand side there’s a gorgeous traditional Thai temple complex. It also consists of other smaller shrines of Buddhas and popular Thai deities. On the fantastically ornate temple grounds the visitors can see many beautifully carved and lavishly coloured statues of Devas and other mystical creatures. The temple celebrates four important events, namely the Thai New Year (Sonkran) at April 13, Wesak Day, Merit Making Day in July and the anniversary of the construction of the reclining Buddha. Behind the temple there is a small Thai village and a Thai cemetery. Local Thais celebrate the traditional Buddhist festival such as Sonkran and Loy Krathong (November) at Wat Chayamangkalaram.
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