The huge reclining Buddha image at Wat Chaiyamangalaram (Wat Chai) Thai Buddhist Temple in Penang Island

 
Wat Chaiyamangalaram (Also can break the word as Wat Chaiya Mangalaram or short for " Wat Chaiya", "Wat" is a Thai word, it means Temple) is located near Pulau Tikus area. Other than the well known Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple located in Air Hitam, It can be regarded as one of the most popular tourist hot spot in George Town, Penang Island, Malaysia and the location presents one of the most interesting religious location in this island. Opposite this Wat Chaiyamangalaram Thai Buddhist temple is where the Dhammikarama Burmese Temple locates where the two temples offer tourists a good comparison between Thai and Burmese approach to Buddhism display where temple architecture and decoration is concerned. As Penang is only a few hundred kilometres away from Thailand, the influence of Thai Buddhist teaching casts a bigger influence to the locals than Burmese. This site also features another Thai Buddhist temple Wat Buppharam which often referred as The Temple of the Lifting Buddha which may provide visiting tourists or devotees a different kind of an interesting religious oriental cultural experience while at stay in this lovely sunny tropical island.

The Thai King at his youthful days performing ritual prayers at Wat Chaiyamangalaram (Wat Chai) Thai Buddhist Temple An old postcard showing the Wat Chaiya during the 60/70 era
However, another reason contributed to Wat Chaiya's popularity is also probably due to Royal visits by Thai King Bhumibol Adulyade, Queen Sirikitj and Queen's mother back in 1967 (the postcard shown was Wat Chaiya's previous state back in the early '70)

Official opening of the Temple's Reclining Buddha was actually by the Thailand by Prime Minister Tun Thanom etc. which helps a great deal in stamping its status as one of the best Thai Buddhist temple in Malaysian soil. The reclining Pagoda which makes symbolizes the Wat Chaiyamangalaram was officially opened on 5th, June 1970 by then Prime Minister of Thailand, General Tun Thanom Kittiarchorn. The main shrine and Pagoda of Wat Chaiya were constructed in 1900 after the East India Company granted a piece of land on behalf of her Majesty Queen Victoria to the community during British colonial rule back in 30th May 1845.

Although Wat Chaiya has gone through many stages of upgrades over the decades but the Pagoda has retained its original state since it was built (recently re-painted in Yellow). The old Pagoda still houses the sacred stone (called Loog NIMIT) where it was first laid beneath at the small pagoda around the main shrine and the bigger Pagoda. The visit I had recently (2006) saw many facelift and changes in facilities and around the temple's compound, there are many additions of postures of popular Thai buddhist images. Internally, the walls, the flooring as well as surrounding have also been improved and upgraded in decorative designs. Together, there are also exhibits of old photos of the Royal visits and updated news of the Royal family activities back in Thailand.
 
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Credit: To all the good people who have contributed their own experience, resources or those who are kind enough in granting us the permission to use their images that appeared on this site. Note: Certain content and images appeared on this site were taken by using a Canon PowerShot Pro-1 digital camera. Some materials appeared on this site were scanned from some leaflets, brochures or publications published by Wat Pak Nam and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from such dispute except rectifying