Merit Monastery of Phuket, Wat Chalong
As a symbolic Buddhist temple of the province, indeed Wat Chalong or literally Wat Chayatharam is a must-visit site when you go to the famous city “Phuket.” Renowned from the merit in which blessing the fortune and prosperity in life among the Buddhist both local and nationwide, in particular, the venerable monk “Luang Pho Chaem.” Although a notable monk passed away for a century reputation and sanctity, have never gone by to the time, instead much more and more believers come to the temple to pay homage to the replica of the monk. The story told that during his life with his great generosity and virtue resulted in the numbers of Buddhists have faith in him very much. It also said that there’re people stick the gold leaf on his arms and legs as if gilding on Buddha image to present the respect until the worshipful monk looks glow.
Anyhow, besides the sanctity and belief of the people toward the sacred monk, inside the monastery complex also housed the grand pagoda “Phra Mahathat Chedi Phra Jomthaibarami” which stored the Buddha’s relic offered by the abbot of Wat Sambodhiharn, a Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka that once the relic housed inside the pagoda in Anuradhapura, the former capital of Sri Lanka. The holy relic enshrined within the particular pagoda of Wat Chalong for the Buddhist to pay respect.
Mythology about the sanctity of Luang Pho Chaem
The story told the great virtue of Luang Pho Chaem that is one of the crucial parts in Phuket history that anyone will not forget. Though venerable monk deceased for ages but the merit of him has never dissolved from the Buddhist, instead has drawn many people both locals and visitors to worship the replica. As well as, other Buddhist instructors “Luang Pho Chuang” and Luang Pho Kluem” at the temple continually.
It noted that the story of Luang Pho Chaem began since the fight toward the Chinese rebellion or also knowns “Chinese Secret Society.” The reverend monk offered shelter for the villagers and provided the white inscribed cloth as a charm to keep them away from harm and encourage the spirit until the locals won the battle.
Another legend of Luang Pho Chaem that is very faithful among the believers is, “the fishermen sailed out into the sea for fishing and experienced the storm and their ship almost drown. Therefore, those of fishermen made the vows to have the merit of Luang Pho Chaem stop the rainstorm, and as if they survived and came home safe and sound they would gild on the significant monk. And finally, they escaped from the storm and went to the temple to inform what happed to Luang Pho Chaem. However, formally the Buddhist do gild only on the Buddha image, not monk so that Luang Pho Cham rejected that firstly. Those of people then told the monk that they would face unfortunate if they do not fulfill the vows, hence Luang Pho Chaem allowed them to gild him on arms and feet. Since then, other villagers acted followed to the fishermen until it became the tradition to gild the venerable monk.
So, after that, the monk was bestowed the priest’s rank by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) at “Phra Khru Visutthiwongsajarn Nyanmunee whose respect among the citizen oh Phuket abidingly. Apart from Luang Pho Chaem, Wat Chalong also are Luang Pho Chuang and Luang Pho Kluem who are proficient in traditional medical and herbal portion. Even though they already passed away but kindness and merit of them still on the mind of the people.
What to do at Wat Chalong
1. Pay homage toward the replica of Luang Pho Chaem
Well-known in sanctity and goodness of this remarkable Buddhist monk of Phuket province. The legend of him who was the center of mind for the locals during the fight with the Chinese rebellion and the story about his cane that touched on mole would make it vanished (it’s personal believe). Also, the other two monks that are respectful among the Buddhist here are Luang Pho Chuang and Luang Pho Kluem whose skill in traditional medical. Today, many believers from all directions consistently come to the temple to pay respect and make the vows to the replica of those three monks that well enshrined inside the image hall.
2. Phra Mahathat Chedi Phrajomthai
The grand pagoda has just completed recently and situated at the rear of the complex. With the pleasant and tranquil circumstance, the first part of pagoda stored numerous Buddha images in various postures, while the story of Buddha is presented as the delicate and magnificent mural painting on the wall. Up to the top of the structure is where enshrined the Buddha’s relic, also outside is the balcony provides the wonderful panoramic view of the monastery compound.
The abbot of Wat Sambodhiharn (formerly called Wat Pa Aranana Niramon) in Sri Lanka said that the Buddha’s relic offered Wat Chalong was enshrined inside the stupa in Anuradhapura, the former capital of Sri Lanka dates back for over 2,200 years old.
And in the occasion to celebrate the 72nd Birthday Anniversary of King Bhumibol (Rama IX), the high priests of Sri Lanka called “Phra Piyadhassa Nayagathero” and “Phra Gusaladhamma” of Wat Sambodhiharn sent the invitation to “Somdet Phra Sangharaja Chao Kromma Luang Vajirananasamvara” the former Supreme Patriarch of Thailand to visit Sri Lanka and receive the Buddha’s relic.
And on 20 March 1999, Somdet Phra Sangharaja Chao Kromma Luang Vajirananasamvara assigned General Mongkol Ampornphisit, the Supreme Commander at that time, on behalf of him to receive the Buddha’s relic at Sri Lanka that respectfully invited to Thailand in 2000. The Supreme Patriarch bestowed the holy relic to the representatives of Phuket to store at Wat Chaiyatharam (Wat Chalong) in Muaeng Phuket district, as for the prosperity for the Buddhist in the province and nearby regions of the Andaman coast.
3. Than Chao Wat
Or the main Buddha image inside the old image hall of the temple, an original space of the compound in the early days. On the left of the Buddha is a model of an old man held betel nut mortar and pestle better known locally “Ta Khi Lek” (Grandpa Khi Lek) and on the right is a demon statue called “Nonsi.”
4. The monk’s cell, house of replicas of the Three Monks
Inside the image hall modeled dwelling that housed wax models of the venerable monks of Wat Chalong, namely Luang Pho Chaem, Luang Pho Chuang, and Luang Pho Kluem, as well as their utilities inside the beautiful Thai style architecture. Additionally, once you entered the monastery complex, you may hear the noise of firecrackers that the believers do it to fulfill the vows.
How to go to the temple
Wat Chaiyatharam or Wat Chalong located in Muaeng Phuket district just only 8 km away from the city center. For one who plans to visit the temple, the journey is optional, including;
From Phuket Town, drives along with the highway number 4021 and pass trisection at Surakul Stadium, then make the left turn to Chalong Intersection. The destination is on the left side, which is approximately 4 km before the intersection.
By Public Transportation:
From Phuket Town, the tourist can get on the pick-up truck service route Phuket – Ao Chalong.