Welcome, Sawasdee Kha!We've just returned from a long weekend away, and I need to lighten up after being immersed in the grueling history of the River Kwai, Death Railway and Hellfire Pass. It was a moving trip especially wandering amongst the thousands of war graves in the cemeteries, but I'll save this for another more solemn day.
So let me take you back to วัดสมานรัตนาราม จ.ฉะเชิงเทรา Wat Saman Rattanaram in Chachoengsao, about one hour out of Bangkok where we saw the incredible pink reclining Ganesha elephant in the last post.
This Wat, or temple has been referred by some as a religious theme park. It's bright and perhaps gaudy temple complex is designed to appeal to the masses and is stuffed full of every conceivable religious and spiritual shrine going, plus a few Superheroes. It is one of many ingenious ways to attract donations to fund the construction of a hospital for the local community.
Other than finding the largest Ganesha in Thailand, certainly one with the most attitude, you will be amazed to see a huge lotus flower rising from the river, Pokemon, Power Rangers, a skeleton, some freakily realistic monk statues and of course the biggest Naga (snake) statue in the world! No, I made that bit up, but seriously everything here is really over the top.
There was shopping galore here too. You can donate or purchase at every opportunity, whether it is to feed the fish in the river or buy children's toys, or how about a fried banana, some taro or anyone want a broom?
The word bazaar springs to mind, in more ways than one.
Love it or hate it, it is religious abundance with a philanthropic twist and the links with the hospital make it special and therefore good in my book.
Talking of brooms, I think I'm becoming a broom bore! I can't stop taking pictures of these brightly coloured beauties. They can't have changed so much over the years, the winning combination of bamboo handle and dry grasses make them especially good on wooden floors.
Now as I said it's been a holiday weekend, Buddhists celebrate Asahna Bucha Day held at the first full moon of the eighth lunar month. It is the start of Buddhist Lent and when many Thai people return to their ancestral homes to donate offerings to temples. It also means this...
Yes, you read right! A full moon with zero alcohol. We went away for two nights in a smart hotel and on neither evening, nor in any restaurant anywhere in Thailand, was alcohol permitted for sale.
'What do you call that?' I said to Mr Wren?
'Poor planning' was his reply!
Thanks to Tamar, Maggie And Ruth