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LEXICON

 

 

Wat Chalo (วัดชลอ)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in the amphur Bang Kruwey (Kruai) of Nonthaburi, just north of Bangkok. The temple's ubosot, which in Thai is usually referred to as bot, is said to be over two hundred years old. The monastery was established during the reign of King Borommakoht (บรมโกษฐ์), who ruled in the late Ayutthaya Period (1733-1758 AD), and is located in the tambon Chalo. Although abandoned for many years, monks finally took up residence again in the temple, presumably around the mid or late 19th century. Since in that period, many lives were lost at sea and in the nearby river, the local people of the area believed that a temple should be constructed like a boat to bring back good fortune, perhaps inspired by the Chinese belief that reua sampao (เรือสำเภา - fig.) are symbols that bring good luck into the home and into the business. Hence, the temple's ubosot or bot was built on top of an enlarged concrete copy of the Golden Swan Royal Barge (fig.), known in Thai as Reua Phra Thihnang Suphanahong (fig.), of which the original was constructed during the reign of King Rama VI, and is itself a replica of Sri Suphanahong, a parallel but older version that was built in the reign of King Rama I and from which it derives its name. The part of the temple shaped as the royal barge is obviously much larger than the original, and is reportedly the largest swan-boat chapel in the world. See also Wat Yahnnahwah (fig.).