Enchanted discovery: Ancient Bodhi tree’s Naga-like form shines light on Thai temple

Photo courtesy of Sanook.

A mysterious Bodhi tree, believed to be over 300 years old and bearing a striking resemblance to the mythical Naga serpent, has been discovered in Wat Pho Sai, Nakhon Phanom. This bizarre spectacle, witnessed by residents, involved an unusual light emanating from the tree during the full moon.

In Nakhon Phanom, a region renowned for its natural beauty and cultural heritage, a curious phenomenon was reported. Besides being home to the famous Phu Langka National Park, Ban Phaeng district is also known for its rich folklore. Among these tales are the legends associated with the ancient Wat Pho Sai, located in Pai Lom, Ban Phaeng, Nakhon Phanom. This site, dating back 300 to 400 years, is a popular destination for history and religious tourism.

The temple houses an ancient statue of Luang Pho Samrit, in Mara Vichai posture, believed to be between 300 and 400 years old. This revered statue came from neighbouring Laos when the village was first established and has since been a source of faith and blessings for the locals, many of whom claim to have had their wishes granted.

However, the real gem of Wat Pho Sai is its giant Bodhi tree, almost 400 years old, with a circumference of over 12 metres. The tree’s unique feature is its seven-tipped top, which locals believe resembles a seven-headed Naga. Many villagers have claimed to see multi-coloured lights springing forth from the tree on full moon nights.

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According to Phra Maha Somboon Panyavutho, the 37 year old abbot of Wat Pho Sai and head of Pai Lom subdistrict in Ban Phaeng, Nakhon Phanom, the temple is a significant spiritual site embedded in historical lore.

The ancient Buddha statue, Luang Pho Samrit, from Laos, is a venerated figure for locals and faith seekers. Many who pray for blessings claim to have encountered good fortune and professional success, reported Sanook.

The Bodhi tree, believed to be a Naga Bodhi tree, attracts faith seekers who come to make merit and pray for good luck. It is thought to be guarded by the Naga and sacred spirits who are believed to protect Luang Pho Samrit. On full moon nights, many villagers report seeing unusual lights emanating from the temple and the giant Bodhi tree, believed to be miracles performed by the Naga and sacred spirits.

A 72 year old resident, Samphun, living near the temple, shared that she has known the giant Bodhi tree since her childhood. She believes the tree is around 400 years old and is a sacred entity protected by celestial beings and the Naga. This belief is reinforced by the luminous phenomenon observed during the full moon nights, which she attributes to the Naga performing miracles.

The temple is now promoted as a prominent religious and historical tourist destination in Ban Phaeng, Nakhon Phanom. As for the faith and belief in the miracles, it depends on the individual whether they choose to believe or not. But one thing is for sure, the ancient Bodhi tree and the Buddha statue have become symbols of faith and spiritual anchors for the local community.

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Samantha Rose

Samantha was a successful freelance journalist who worked with international news organisations before joining Thaiger. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from London, her global perspective on news and current affairs is influenced by her days in the UK, Singapore, and across Thailand. She now covers general stories related to Thailand.

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