Phra That Kham Kaen: "Great Stupa of Tamarind Heartwood"Last Updated: January 10,2020
Phra That Kham Kaen is the kind of chedi the town, it located in, derives its name as the name of the town and it is depicted on the Khon kaen's provincial seal.
Phra That Kham Kaen is highly revered by the local Thais because it is believed to preserve the relics of the Buddha.
The Laotian style Phra That Kham Kaen chedi is on the grounds of the Wat Chetiyaphum. It is believed to be the first construction was built in this area before the founding of the Khon Kaeo town, although no one knows the exact construction date. This golden, Laotian style chedi sits on a square stone base and has a multi-tiered ceremonial umbrella on the top.
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A legend of Phra That Kham Kaen
A legend tells a king of Khmer ordered a group of monks to enshrine the relics of the Buddha in the chedi of the Wat Phra That Phanom which was being constructed at that time in Nakhon Phanom province. The group of monks set out to the Wat Phra That Phanom with the relics. One day they decided to stay overnight near the stump of a dead tamarind tree when it was getting dark and they placed the relics on the stump. The next day the monks continued their journey. When they arrived at the Wat Phra That Kham Kaen, they found the chedi had already been completed. The monks had to return home with relics. When they arrived at the stump where they had stayed overnight earlier, they found the dead tamarind tree was miraculously blooming and turned to life again. They were very pleased and decided to build a new chedi over the stump and enshrine the relics of Buddha in it and the chedi got the name Phra That Kham Kaen, which means "Great stupa of tamarind heartwood".
There is an annual festival on the full moon day of the 6th lunar month called Phra That Kham Kaen fair. During the fair, local Thais pay their respect and make merit to the chedi. Some musical and cultural performance can be seen.
There are some other buildings on the grounds of the temple including an ubosot which is an ordination hall and a viharn means assembly hall. Two white lions are guarding the entrance of the viharn and the multi-tiered roofs of it are decorated with golden chofah, ornamental elements representing Garude, a kind of mythological bird. The ubosot is a simple and small building which entrance is flanked by two multi-tiered ceremonial umbrellas and the front gable is beautifully painted.
How to get the Phra That Kham Kaen
The Phra That Kham Kaen is in Wat Chetiyaphum which is in Nam Phong district, about 20km northeast to Khon Kaen town. The best way to get there is to rent a private car with driver from the town. Most of the larger hotels have this kind of service.
The temple is open every day during daylight time.
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