Sunday, December 16, 2007

251206 Ban Sop Houn temple - 01

On the opposite bank of the Nam Ou from Nong Khiaw - Ban Sop Houn:


On the left (above) is a little grocery shop, & beside it is the path that leads to Sunset Guesthouse. Later tonight the cat would find its way back to the guesthouse in the darkness with the help of candles lit by the shop owner =)

Across from the shop is a flight of steps leading up to this little temple:


Possibly the tiniest the cat has ever visited. The interior didn't seem much bigger than the cat's 3m X 3m X 3m university hostel room. To one side of the building was a long shed for the village boat used for the rainy season boat racing festival. There seemed to be only two people around, an elderly monk, & a little novice whom he told to let the cat in...which he did, opening not just the main but also the side doors & windows & even turning on the fan.

The simple interior had a collection of small strange-looking figurines flanking the main Buddha image. Most appeared to be carved from wood or stone, & with rather large & elongated noses & ears & crude features, the cat couldn't tell if they were Buddhist or animist. Leaning against a wall was a large blue board with names of donors & the amounts donated painted in white - quite a few were Western names.

The entrance up close:


With a fierce-looking Kala (กาละ) painted above the 'gong khiu' (โก่งคิ้ว lit. arch eyebrow) to guard the place from evil:


Looks like Rahu, & Rahu & Kala both have no body. But Rahu lost its body when it was chopped off by Vishnu, & is depicted munching on the sun or moon...greedy Kala munches on itself! Another picture of Kala aka. Kirtimukkha (กีรติมุข) here.

The double-arch 'gong khiu' represents Buddha's eyebrows. Here it is indicated by the fifth (counting from the top) black line on the right. Looks kinda like how the cat used to draw the silhouettes of distant birds flying in the sky when it was in kindergarten.

White flowers, birds, squirrels, monkeys & other creatures:


Weird how the black & white round pillars are not 'free standing'.

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