This post has been delayed because, as I mentioned in the last one, I lost my phone on the way to the airport in Chiang Mai. Once Song Kran festival was over and the post offices were re-opened the lovely BP and Lek at The Chiang Mai White House mailed it back to me. It arrived a week or so ago but it’s taken me this long to get my act together, download the photos and write this post.
Every day as I set off to the massage school I was entranced by the sight of Wat Ban Ping glistening in the morning sunshine over the tree tops from the balcony. I decided on my last day that I would visit. It turns out that the wat (temple) is a relatively new building as the original was damaged by fire and rebuilding was completed in 2008. It has been rebuilt with glass mirror mosaic on the fascias, hence the sparkle I saw each morning. I sat in the meditation hall for a while. Outside in the grounds it was quite busy as they were hosting a medical information event.
I then wandered on to a much older wat, which BP mentioned was his favourite. Wat Lok Molee is just outside the old city wall to the north. According to Wikipedia its exact age isn’t known, but it must have already been in existence in 1367 as it is mentioned in a charter from that year. The current meditation hall was built in 1545 and it is mostly undecorated teak. This wat was also busy as as the monks were attempting to run an event for lots and lots of mini-monks – young boys of, I would guess between 5 and 8 years old. All in their orange robes they looked the part, but their attention span was clearly that of young boys and they had to be constantly corralled by their teachers into a separate pavilion. It reminded me a lot of a Sunday school outing.
The chedi behind the meditation hall has a small Buddha set into an alcove. There was a wire leading up to this and there is a ritual whereby one can pull a little scoop of water in the shape of a bird up the wire. Provided you pull it slowly and carefully it will get to the top where it tips up and bathes the Buddha. This may have bestowed blessings on the participant. What it certainly did was provide enough water for a fine crop of weeds growing out of the brickwork.