Wat Kham Chanot, also known as Wat Chanod, is Buddhist temple in Udon Thani Province near Ban Kham Chanot village. The temple is very known amongst Thai people and attracts visitors from all other the country.
According to local legend two naga, Grandpa Naga Pu Si Suttho and Grandma Naga Si Pathumma, live in the lake at Wat Kham Chanot and come out at night to roam around the forest in the temple grounds. Naga are mythical semi-deities, which are serpents that can take on human form. In Buddhist mythology the King of the Naga gave shelter to the Lord Buddha duration the marathon meditation session which ended in his achieving enlightenment.
About Wat Kham Chanot Temple
Wat Kham Chanot is a temple of two parts. The first part of the temple is where you arrive. There is a large car park and area with amenities such as a toilet block and food vendors. This part of the temple has a large golden Buddha statue and various Buddha shrines.
The main reason people come to Wat Kham Chanot is to visit the other part of the temple. To get there you need to take of your shoes, which you can leave in shoes racks provided for this purpose, and walk across the long naga bridge. The banister rail on either side of the bridge is shaped like naga with two seven headed naga statues on either side of the start of the bridge. For luck visitors will run their hands along the scales of these naga as they cross the bridge.
As you cross over the bridge you come an area forested with chanot trees which are very old. A chanot tree is a type of palm tree with a slender trunk which grows nearly as tall as coconut tree, and bears a type palm fruit which is used in traditional medicines, but doesn’t taste particularly nice.
The naga bridge leads through to a clearing in the forest with three shrines. Thai visitors come here to receive a blessing. If you come to Wat Kham Chanot at the weekend, or on public holidays, you normally need to wait a few minutes for your turn to kneel in front of one of the three shrines to receive your blessing and there is usually a policeman on duty overseeing the queuing system.
Many Thai visitors believe that wishes are granted to those who receive a blessing at the shrine and make an offering. Flowers and incense are on sale at the shrine which you can purchase as an offering. If you visit on a busy day then you are likely to see Thai people bringing more elaborate offerings. Typically offering are given at Wat Kham Chanot is the hope of receiving some kind of financial gain, or in thanks for a financial gain already received.
Of the three shrines the most popular one is one on the right which is the shrine to Grandma and Grandad Suttho, the naga who in the lake in in front of the forest. A Thai mystic, or perhaps wizard might be a better description, sits inside this shrine dressed in white with a long grey beard giving the blessings.
The next popular feature of the temple you come after the three shrines is a very old tree with roots which spread out from the base of the tree. If you visit what you see is Thai people closely examining the roots and trunk of the tree. What they are looking for is the winning numbers for Thai lottery. A common belief is that you can see numbers in the bark of the tree which are lucky. The shrine is front of the tree is somewhere you can pray for luck in picking the correct lottery numbers.
The final part of the forest temple before you finish the circuit back to the naga bridge is a series of metal gongs of various sizes. The belief is that if you can make the gong ‘sing’ (which means making the gong produce an audible clear note) by rubbing it then the wish you made at the shrine earlier will come true. There is no specific technique for doing this, and the tradition is that you simply rub the gong whichever way you feel is appropriate and if the gong ‘sings’ then you will be lucky.
Location of Wat Kham Chanot Temple
- Wat Kham Chanot Temple is located 88.3 km by road from Udon Thani Railway Station.