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Wat Chalong, Phuket, Religion and Texture

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One of the places you're likely to visit in Phuket is Wat Chalong, Wat meaning temple, Chalong is the name of the town it's at. This is a famous Buddhist temple and a nice half day trip to experience some Buddhist ceremonies.

The front of the temple is where the praying, incense and candle ceremonies take place, but this temple's main draw isn't here, it's the tower in the back. Inside a glass vile at the top of the tower is said to be a bone fragment of Buddha.

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The glass vile is itself inside a glass enclosure. The monks have sealed the door with tape, but people have cut the tape to slot banknotes through the door and into the enclosure. A pile of money sits in the bottom of the enclosure. Monks don't handle money directly, if you donate to a monk, you put it in an envelope and hand it to them so they don't touch it. Or better still, slot it into the donation boxes.

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So it's inappropriate to slot money into the glass Buddha enclosure, but, well, nobody really minds, if it makes visitors happier. So nobody stands guard and nobody tells you off if you do it. Make your wish on your money, and slot your notes into the glass case through the door. If it's Thai baht, it can be used for the temple construction, even if it isn't handed to them in the right way, it's still a good thing.

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At lower levels of the tower are collections of Buddha images in different poses, but the real delight here is the textures and colors of the temple itself. Cobwebbed golden pillars, metallic greens and blues, dragon hand rails, and small children praying.
This is a good place to take back some photographs to remember your visit.

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The sound of exploding firecrackers fills the air. A special brick kiln is used to light them, and a man is there to light them for you safely. The principle here is Chinese, buy the firecrackers from the shop to the left of the kiln, make your wish on them. After you've wished for what you want, hand them to the kiln man, who will string them up in the kiln, and light them for you.

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After they've burnded, the larger ones have a banner that gets scorched by the firecrackers. You keep this as a memory of the wish. A russian tourist just after us bought a large set of firecrackers, but they kept going out and needed re-lighting 3 times before it would burn completely. I don't think he'll get his wish.


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