When you are in Kelantan, do not miss the opportunity to visit the numerous Thai/ Buddhist temples. It might amaze some of you that in Kelantan- seen as a state dominated by the Malays, a PAS stronghold – would have that many Thai/ Buddhist temples , but we have ‘em in Kelantan , and some of them in gigantic proportions too.
Wat Mai Suwankiri ( locals refer to the temple as Wat Mai) is probably one of the more picturesque and elaborate temple in Kelantan. Info extracted from a plague at the temple grounds ‘the original temple is said to have been constructed 400 year ago by expert craftsman from Thailand, the present day structure was built at a cost of RM300,000 with funds coming from public donations and the Buddhist associations of Malaysia and Thailand. An object shaped like a dragon boat decorated the inside of the temple, thus earning it its nickname Ketik Perahu Naga ( dragon boat temple). The design is Thai, which is hardly surprising given the area’s proximity to Thailand’
This is the main building with the main hall
a closer look ..
At the entrance to the main hall, you will see a big tree laden with fruits (a fig tree)
A Buddha statue inside the main hall
One of the attraction in the main hall, a wax statue of Tharn Di ( Monk Di) -who had since passed on, Tharn Di was a charismatic abbot , revered by the community. The figure was so life like , even up close !! The texture and colour, the pores , the hair, the tattoo, wowww, amazing ! We stared at this for a long long time, expecting it to blink.
The main hall -in gold and red is grand and magnificent, part of the door
The elaborate red and golden windows
The main attraction of Wat Mai …the Dragon boat…
It’s an ‘actual’ boat surrounded by water
The dragon boat has 4 nagas ( 2 at the front and 2 at the back) watching over it.
The hall in the boat – ‘Dewan ( Hall) Wi Han Nawatham’ was officiated by Datuk Foo Chow Yong on 17th May 1984 . A Buddha statue in the hall, shown here with the many headed nagas providing shelter
Life story of the Buddha are drawn along the ceiling. The bottom panels tell the story of Prince Siddaharta leaving the comfortable life in the palace , cutting his hair and joining a group of ascetics in his quest to seek the truth
There is another interesting building, as you walk up the stairs, a glass compartment will come into your view and in this compartment , you will find the preserved body of Tharn Di. You can see the darken body- gnarled toes and all plus quite a handful of cobwebs . It wasn’t eerie at all , rather interesting really. But if you are a bit chicken one..don’t look lorrr..
At another hall – The statue of the Buddha with rows of bronzed monks ( err..not Baywatch kinda bronzed )
Brahma – or probably more widely called The 4 faced Buddha
The main hall from a different angle –note the bell tower
The main entrance to Wat Mai
Address: Kg. Bukit Tanah, 16200 Tumpat, Kelantan
Wat Mai would be about 25km from Kota Bharu. Head towards Tumpat, when you come to Kampung Sedar, watch out for Bomba ( fire station), you should see some road signs pointing the way to Wat Mai ( if you come to a junction and see a traffic lights ( and also another beautiful temple ( Wat Pikulthong , read here, with the statue of the standing Buddha, you have overshot already la, turn back !) .Turn right into the road behind the Bomba and go straight ahead , turn right when you come to a T-junction , go straight ahead you will come to a ‘Bukit Tanah’ road sign and it will be somewhat elevated and proceed maybe 500m , watch out for a sharp junction ( really really sharp) on your left, turn into the junction and it will be a downhill drive for maybe 200m and you will come to Wat Mai . Enjoy your visit !!
I found this clip on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U799x3doCM