|Wat Chalong’s temple fair|
UPDATE: The Chalong Temple Fair 2014 will run from January 31 to February 6.
The largest and liveliest temples on Phuket, Wat Chalong has been a centre of the local Buddhist community since its original construction in the early 1800s. Not exactly a peaceful place of contemplation, the main viharn (assembly hall) is thronged daily with worshippers and curious tourists, while the air is constantly crackling with the sound of firecrackers set off by those hoping to blast some good fortune their way.
Another hall houses the eerily realistic wax statue of the revered Luang Por Cham, a former abbot of many talents. He is credited with helping to quell the Chinese workers’ rebellion in 1876, and was also known as a great healer. The statues of two other former abbots, Luang Por Chaung and Luang Por Gluam, are also set in the building.
|Fruity looking sugar snacks for sale at the fair|
More recently, Wat Chalong was renovated and construction of a large chedi was completed in 2002 to house a sacred relic – a bone fragment of the Lord Buddha, brought from Sri Lanka in 1999. Called the Phramahathat Chedi, it stands more than 61 metres high and its large platform on the third storey offers a great lookout point over the surrounding area. The bone fragment, enclosed in glass, can also be viewed on this level.
|Goat’s heads in a bucket. We didn’t ask why.|
Each year during Chinese New Year the temple is jammed with people flocking to the annual Wat Chalong fair, one of the island’s biggest festivals with food, live music and loads of food, handicrafts and odd stuff for sale.
Wat Chalong is on Luang Por Cham Road, about 8 km south of Phuket City off Chao Fa West Road.