WAT PHAH BONG (MANGKHALARAAM)

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Wat Phah Bong (วัดผาบ่อง) is a Buddhist temple located in the old city centre of Chiang Mai (เชียงใหม่), within the moats. The temple's compound features several interesting objects, such as statues of King Naresuan (นเรศวร) the Great, the Burmese monk Phra Siwalih (พระสิวลี), a large bust of the demon (राहु, ราหู), a giant statue of the Thai historical monk Luang Poo Thuad (หลวงปู่ทวด), and large scale imitation models of the 12 pagodas in northern Thailand that contain Buddha relics of various years of the Chinese zodiac, here summarized in the order of the 12 Animal Signs of the Zodiac corresponding to the 12 Earthly Branches: 1. Wat Phrathat Sri Chom Thong Wora Wihaan (วัดพระธาตุศรีจอมทองวรวิหาร) in Chiang Mai, Year of the Rat; 2. Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang (วัดพระธาตุลำปางหลวง) in Lampang (ลำปาง), Year of the Ox; 3. the stupa of Wat Phrathat Cho Hae (วัดพระธาตุช่อแฮ) in Phrae (แพร่), Year of the Tiger; 4. Wat Phrathat Chae Haeng (วัดพระธาตุแช่แห้ง) in Nan (น่าน), Year of the Rabbit; 5. Phrathat Chedi Wat Phra Singh (พระธาตุเจดีย์วัดพระสิงห์) in Chiang Mai, Year of the Dragon; 6. Phrathat Wat Chedi Jed Yod (พระธาตุวัดเจดีย์เจ็ดยอด) in Chiang Mai, Year of the Snake; 7. the stupa of Wat Phra Borommathat (วัดพระบรมธาตุ) in Tak (ตาก), Year of the Horse; 8. Wat Doi Suthep (วัดดอยสุเทพ) in Chiang Mai, Year of the Goat; 9. Wat Phrathat Phanom (วัดพระธาตุพนม) in Nakhon Phanom (นครพนม), Year of the Monkey; 10. Wat Phrathat Haripunchai (วัดพระธาตุหริภุญชัย) in Lamphun (ลำพูน), Year of the Cock; 11. the stupa of Wat Ket Karam (วัดเกตการาม) in Chiang Mai, which houses the Phrathat Ket Kaew Chulamanie (วัดพระธาตุเกตุแก้วจุฬามณี) hair relic, Year of the Dog; and 12. Wat Phrathat Doi Tung (วัดพระธาตุดอยตุง) in Chiang Rai (เชียงราย), Year of the Pig. The temple houses a Lan Na (ล้านนา)-style bronze Buddha image weighing 680,000 baht (บาท). There is prasat (ប្រាសាទ, ปราสาท)-style stupa which has Buddha statues on all four sides and a porch protruding on the north side. The temple has a holy well where locals often come for water to perform religious ceremonies, or to drink it in order to expel evil from the body. The temple was reportedly built in the late 15th century AD by Ngiaw (เงี้ยว) people, an ethnic tribe in northern Thailand also known as Shan (ฉาน, ရှမ်း), who migrated from Mae Hong Son and named the temple after the village from which they came. Oddly, at the temple's entrance stands the statue of a cartoon-like figure of a Buddhist monk with four arms, two faces, and wearing two pairs of eyeglasses. The temple is also referred to with the appendix Mangkhalaraam (มังคลาราม), a term that also occurs in the official name of Wat Poh (วัดโพธิ์), i.e. Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaraam (วัดพระเชตุพนวิมลมังคลาราม), and roughly translates as ĎAuspiciousí.