Failed 14 million baht temple lighting system may quash UNESCO nomination

Wat Phra Mahathat

A failed 14 million baht lighting system isn’t helping southern Thailand’s temple of Phra Mahathat Woramahavihan’s bid to become a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The lighting system was installed around the main stupa of Phra Borommathat Chedi in 2014, but those responsible for the project have largely left it in disarray. The lighting is now in need of repairs due to the damages sustained, but no one has stepped up to fix the issues.

The Department of Civil Works and Town and Country Planning funded the lighting system, which was part of a plan to nominate the stupa, located in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. According to Thai PBS World, there has been no response or plans to fix the expensive project. Many believe the temple was built by King Sri Dhamma Sokaraj in the early 13th century. It was to serve as a symbol for the Theravada Buddhism sect in the province. It is known as one of the most important historical sites in Thailand and serves as the main Buddhist centre in the province.

Visitors to the temple mostly come to worship and see the supposed tooth of the Lord Buddha which the temple is thought to house. The royal first-class temple is located on Ratchadamnoen Road in Tambon Nai Mueang.

According to Wikipedia, “the present pagoda has a distinctive Sri Lankan style. The top is entirely covered by pure gold. Inside the temple are many edifices especially the royal building which has beautiful architecture from the Ayutthaya period and the Sam Chom building where Phra Si Thamma Sokarat, the Buddha image attired in royal clothes, is housed. There are also the Phra Maha Phinetkrom (the equestrian image) building and the Thap Kaset building. In addition, the Khian and Pho Lanka buildings are used to display artefacts donated to the temple by Buddhists.”

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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