Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple is the largest Thai temple in Penang. Set just off Jalan Burma (on the way to Batu Ferringhi), the yellow-and-blue temple is also known as Wat Buppharam. Built in 1845, it is home to a 108ft-long reclining Buddha image, said to be the third largest in the world. Draped in a gold-leafed saffron robe, the sprawling statue was erected as a monument to signify Buddha’s final resting position at his death and symbolizes his detachment from worldly matters. Located opposite the less extravagant Dharmmikarama Temple (which lights up beautifully at night) Wat Chaiya Mangakalaram Temple is a beautiful sight with ornate, gold pagodas, and mural-painted walls.
History of Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple
Spread across five acres of land (which was gifted by Queen Victoria to the Thai community as a gesture of goodwill to bolster trading relations with Thailand) Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple was originally led by a Thai Theravada Buddhist monk, Phortan Kuat. Also known as the ‘Powerful Monk’, he was very much adored by his congregation: to this day, his devotees bring bowls of asam laksa (coconut-based sour gravy noodles) to his shrine to honour him.
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