May 2, 2014

12 Penang - The Reclining Buddha at Wat Chaiyamangalaram

Wat Chaiyamangalaram houses one of the largest reclining Buddhas in the world. Several sources on the web (I am unable to verify the accuracy) state that this Thai Buddhist temple was constructed in 1900. It sealed itself as one of Penang's most visited places when the reclining Buddha was built in the late 1960s.

Although this marks as my second visit, I found it as interesting as before. Left to my own devices with like-minded friend in tow, it's easy to be in high spirits.

I was only a child when I first visited the place and often referred to the statue as 'The Sleeping Buddha'.

Jen and I made our way to the temple armed with a simple map and empty energetic chatter. Our day's adventure kicked off from Evergreen Laurel Hotel, where we had spent the night. The walk along Jalan Kelawei was a pleasant experience thanks to slightly gloomy weather and shade provided by trees. A turning led us to the temple. Souvenir peddlers hogged the area around the entrance.

We walked in, awed by the view before us. Statues of mystical dragon serpents and giant warriors guard the door to the main shrine.

Wat Chaiyamangalaram

The golden Pagoda at the back lent an air of ancientness :

Wat Chaiyamangalaram

It began to drizzle. We rushed towards the main shrine where the reclining Buddha rests. The 108-foot long gold plated sculpture was surrounded by adoring looks from many tourists. It's beautiful ...but  my enthusiasm was a little marred by concern about losing my shoes. Haha..that! I could not shake the icky thought of walking barefoot on rain drenched roads.

Visitors are asked to remove their shoes before entering the area. A signboard hanging above the steel rack warned us of shoe thieves. My carefree spirit took a small dive when the temple assistant politely informed me to keep close watch of my Nike pair. I wanted to thank his helpfulness as much as I wanted to 'un-thank' his advice - if only such a word exists!

"Unthank you for your advice, Sir! My calm spirit is now lost..lost with worry!"

The reclining Buddha of Wat Chaiyamangalaram

Another angle of the reclining Buddha of Wat Chaiyamangalaram

Smaller statues were stationed along walls around the reclining Buddha. This was one of my favourites (below). It carries a serenity I cannot explain. It is estimated that thirty thousand embossed Buddha images cover the walls.

At peace

An animal sign from the the Chinese zodiac has been carved onto the pedestal of some of these statues. I guess those born in the year snake will put their donation into the red collection container where the pedestal bears the same symbol, and so forth. Behind, are urns containing ashes of devotees in niches set in walls.

The 12 Chinese zodiac signs

I recognise only the Goddess of Mercy (second from right) in this picture :

More statues at Wat Chaiyamangalaram

Here, candles in the shape of a lotus flower is used for prayer. I have been told that in Buddhism, the lotus flower is a symbol of spiritual enlightenment or an awakening.

Lit lotus candles

We passed the sea of serpents again on our way out :

Serpents guard Wat Chaiyamangalaram

Going in, going out, the gateway!

The gate to Wat Chaiyamangalaram

Before leaving, Jen and I 'quenched our thirst' on Thai coconut ice cream, which we purchased from an ice cream vendor near the gateway. Can ice cream be a thirst quencher? This was light enough to feel like a yummy drink. In humid weather, I say yes!

That covers my visit to Wat Chaiyamangalaram. I hope to be back a third time!


  1. Gorgeous photos and sounds like you had a great time. I have been there before but when I was a child and frankly don't remember much. Perhaps it's a sign I need to go back!

    1. Oh, yes I did. I had an amazing time! Penang has changed a lot - for the better. It's become very interesting and beautiful.

  2. lookslike a nice trip
    seem like we went to Penang at the same time
    I visited this before many years ago
    LOL I knew your worry
    they not allowed if you have own plastic bag and tapao ur Nike shoes?
    Just wonder....

    1. Lol..! Brilliant idea, Emily. I will bring a bag along for my shoes next time ;)

  3. been here too. once back in 1998 with my friends after finished my degree studies. toured to Melacca, Penang and Singapore before headed home. :p

    1. looks like it's time for another visit, Rose ;)

  4. I've been to Penang a few times, but never been to this temple.

    1. Hah! There's so much to see in Penang that although I make a trip down every year, I have yet to visit all the places I should.

  5. nice shot, i have been there many years ago.

    1. Aww..coming from you, cquek..that's really an achievement for me! Lol ^.^

  6. such a grgs clicks n beautiful place..

    my recent one:


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