Chiang Khong - Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    14 kms downstream from Chiang Khong on a big bend in the Mekong river sits Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon on a hill overlooking the 'Khong, its treacherous rapids & the Friendship bridge across the Mekong in the distance.

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    more to come
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    A guardian of the Mekong & the Phaya Nak naga snake this temple has a statue of  the Prince of Chumphon Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse

    [​IMG] the Prince of Chumphon / the Father of the Thai Navy

    the statue is new & looked completely out of place I thought, however some research turns up a bit of history & the story of the Prince of Chumphon / the Father of the Thai Navy & figure regarded as a protector of fishermen.

    Admiral Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse, aka the Prince of Chumphon

    He was the 28[sup]th[/sup] son of King Rama 5 & studied as a naval cadet in England in his youth. After he returned home he served with distinction in the Royal Siamese Navy.

    In 1922 offered Royal Land at Sattahip Bay for the establishment of a Thai naval base & was proclaimed "The Father of Royal Thai Navy".

    There are scores of statues of the prince throughout Thailand and members of the Thai navy, fishermen and other Thai citizens often make offerings at his statue and pray.

    The Prince also studied medicine, specializing in the use of herbal medicine in treating his patients. As "Doctor Phon", he provided medical treatment to people of all classes and races.

    He also had a reputation for magic & the supernatural; was often regarded as one of the "108 deities in heavens". Many worshipers proclaim themselves to be his "children" or followers and pray to him for fulfillment of their wishes.
    • Born on December 19, 1880
    • Studied in the Grand Palace and learned English from an Englishman Mr. Morant.
    • 1 December 1892, started naval academy in the UK
    • 1900 graduated from the naval academy & became Lieutenant Junior Grade, the equivalent of Lieutenant-Commander nowadays, by Royal order of King Chulalongkorn. He appointed Prince Chumporn Ket Udomsak as Commander on HTMS Maruthawasitsawat.
    • 16 September 1901 he became the Deputy Commander of the Navy Department
    • 1903 he restructured the Navy Department
    • 1905 he improved the curriculum of the Royal Thai Naval Academy.
    • 1907, one hundred naval cadets joined and showed the flag of the Royal Thai Navy on HTMS Makutrachakumarn in Singapore, Java and the Billiton Islands in Indonesia.
    • 9 May 1923, he contracted flu with a high fever & died in the quarters of the King in Hat-Say-Ree village, Chumporn Province.
    He is regarded as “The Father of Royal Thai Navy".
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    5 days earlier on a quick whistle stop at Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon while enjoying the view & chatting to a mae chee female monk we were asked if we were interested in coming to the spirit ceremony blessing the Mekong, the female goddess who looked after & tamed the mythical Phaya Nak naga snake that patrolled the Mekong in the hunt for ships & fishermen. Wow, now that sounds real interesting you've got me (& the GF) for sure.

    On the  roadside - way from the Mekong - in front of the chedi, is a sala with the goddess guarding the Mekong & the Phaya Nak naga snake.

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon - the goddess guarding the Mekong Phay Nak naga snake.

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon - the goddess guarding the Mekong Phay Nak naga snake.

    The Legend Of The Phaya Nak Naga Snake
    The Phaya Nak is a cobra-like deity in Hindu mythology; & the Thai legend of the dragon-like Naga has it that the “phaya nak” raised Lord Buddha over a flood during his last pre-enlightenment meditation. The beast then welcomed his final incarnation on Earth by spitting fire skyward, at what became the end of Buddhist Lent.

    Similar, alleged displays of combustible breath have re-emerged beneath October full moons ever since - the famed naga fireballs.

    The legend of the naga is a strong and sacred belief held by people living along the Mekong River. Many pay their respects to the river because they believe the naga still rules it, and locals hold an annual sacrifice for the naga.

    Each ceremony depends on how each village earns its living from the Mekong River — for instance, through fishing or transport.

    Local residents believe that the naga can protect them from danger, so they are likely to pay respects to the naga before taking a boat trip along the Mekong River.

    If I understand correctly........at Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon, the Ya Mon goddess watches over the Phaya Nak patrolling the  rapids below &  keeps it under control so as not to endanger any passing boats.

    More to come.
     
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    All excited to be at a special event the GF & I rock up to the Wat the day before to confirm the event is on & what  the starting time is....9am it gets underway....there will be Thai dancing & some traditional music plus the spirit ceremonies....

    That all sounded good - intriguing & so it was the next day we rocked up at 9am all excited & ready to go; not sure exactly what to expect.

    Jurgen is already there - he's a real early bird arriving a couple of hours earlier & already knows more than me what is going on - you can't beat Jurgen for research!

    We are still early though - the event runs on Thai time.

    Getting ready for the event. The ladies preparing offerings

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    The Thai dancers practising - turn out to be poor school kids

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    & not quite what I was expecting.

    Inside the wat sala there is a star set up for the ceremony

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    Offerings for the monks & spirits

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    There's a traditional band set up in the sala & it is a classic beauty

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    & incredibly this classic traditional band even has a saxophone today

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    talk about a jam session & a half!

    More to come..
     
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The star

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    is crucial to the ceremony & constructed carefully, with offerings places around the 3 legs

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    They all have special significance for good health, wealth & longevity

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    although I'm not really sure about the cigarettes

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Chiang Khong - Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    candles are burned around & on top of the star

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    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    The monks prepare for the ceremony

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    a candle is lit for the monks

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    & the show gets under way

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    more to come
     
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The ceremony centres around the star, with everybody connected to the star by strings.

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    From inside the star, to the monks seated above to the star,

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    to the main people in the star; &  the main person of the day was Pah Jim from Bangkok

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    a sizeable lady celebrating her birthday by making thamboon at the temple in Chiang Khong.

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    to the rest of the people / villagers outside the star

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    the abbot leading the show

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    a man with incredibly intense powerful piercing eyes.

    More to come
     
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Ceremony over & time for offerings to the monks

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    plus one from the Ajarns at Mae Fah Luang university in Chiang Rai to the village elders.

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    then a traditional "Lao style Bacci ceremony."

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    which involves respected village elders tying sin / strings around the wrists of people  for good luck.

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    then a donation for staging the ceremony, mainly sponsored by the birthday girl Pah Jim to gain merit, but I note she still requested donations. Oh well.

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    Two happy visiting particpants

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    Then loads of free food for everyone - Lanna Khanntoke style

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    superb hospitality from the villagers of Pak Ing Tai.

    More to come...
     
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Another part of the show was a shaman / spiritual artist drawing on foreheads & the back of your hand.

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    more to come.
     
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    It was almost the end of the show, but not before the school kids nicely attired now, performed for the birthday girl Pah Jim

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    with Pah Jim graciously tipping them all 20 baht each after the show.

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    Then time for the birthday cake for the birthday girl

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    & an extremely special event, something that I had not thought possible.

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    the cutting of the cake by the abbot & presentation to the admirers. ??

    [​IMG] Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon – Mekong Phaya Nak Blessing

    The show was over & the band played on eating & enjoying life.

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    indeed life was good. I didn't quite get to see what I had eagerly "mis-anticipated" - a blessing of the mythical Mekong goddess of the  Phaya Nak naga snake but Pah Jim from Bangkok had turned on an interesting show & we were all richer for the experience.

    Last but not least 3 ceremonial photographs to end the day & the birthday girl's big day.

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    Something different indeed & all adding to the mystique of life by the Mekong.

    The 19th September - mark it down in your  calendar - Wat Pra That Doi Ya Mon in Pak Ing Tai south of Chiang Khong, will be where it's all happening same time same place in 2016.

    I trust some of you enjoyed this little excursion & event.
     
  11. David Unkovich

    David Unkovich Active Member

    P.S. this event coincided with the first anniversary of my mother's passing; so I too was able to make some special merit (along with the GF's assistance of course).

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    & hopefully something a bit special from the abbot with the amazing intense piercing eyes.

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