Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket History – The legend of Wat Pranang Sang

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Wat Pranang Sang is the oldest surviving temple on Phuket Island. It has a long and fascinating history, serving as an important center of Buddhism for the townspeople of Thalang for centuries.

When the Burmese invaded the island in 1785, the temple served as a rallying point for Siamese soldiers who gathered to defend the town.

The history of the temple itself is quite muddled. No one really knows how old it is exactly. Legend has it that the temple was built by Pranang Lueat-khao, a name that translates simply as the ‘White Blooded Noble Lady’.

Pranang Lueat-khao was the wife of a local ruler. She was accused of having an affair with a page. Although Pranang Lueat-khao maintained that she was innocent, no one believed her. She was sentenced to death by beheading.

Being a devout Buddhist, her final wish was to be able to travel to Sri Lanka so that she could pay her respects to the relic of the Buddha. Her wish was granted by the ruler.

On her way back from Sri Lanka, the noble lady stopped to build Buddhist temples in different towns along the route, including Thalang town where she built a temple that would later be called Wat Pranang Sang, which means the ‘Temple built by the Noble Lady’.

When she returned to her home city, she was taken to the execution ground. She insisted on her innocence until the final moment of her life. When the executioner’s blade struck her, a stream of white blood flowed from her lifeless body. The miracle, witnessed by hundreds of onlookers, was a sign that the noble lady was indeed innocent and that she had been punished for a crime for which she had been wrongly accused.

The story of Pranang Lueat-khao closely resembled a popular legend from nearby Langkawi Island. Lady Mahsuri, the wife of the prince of Langkawi, was accused of adultery by her jealous mother-in-law when her husband was absent.

Despite her plea of innocence, she was sentenced to death. In this case, too, when she was stabbed, a stream of white blood flowed from the fatal wound. With her dying breath, she cursed the island of Langkawi to seven generations of tribulation and misfortune.

The story of Lady Mahsuri is well known in Phuket as it is believed that after her death her family fled Langkawi and came to Phuket. It is however unclear how her tragic story came to be associated with Wat Pranang Sang. It is unlikely that she ever visited Thalang or built this temple. Mahsuri was Muslim and would not have asked that a Buddhist temple be built in her memory.

Phra Kru Vichit Supakarn, a resident monk at Wat Pranang Sang, said that the temple was built around five centuries ago and was originally called Wat Na Sang, or Wat Takien. According to the monk, historical records about Thalang have credited the renovation of the temple to the ruler of Nakhon-Sri-Thammarat and his wife.

The ruler of Nakhon-Sri-Thammarat was on pilgrimage to Sri Lanka when, on the way, their ship stopped at Thalang. Upon visiting the rundown temple in Thalang, the ruler ordered it to be renovated and renamed Wat Pranang Sang, in honor of his noble wife.

Wat Pranang Sang is now home to one of Phuket’s most important historical artifacts. The temple’s oldest building houses three Buddha images made entirely out of tin. They are the largest tin Buddha images in the world.

According to Phra Kru Vichit, when the Burmese invaded the island in 1785, Wat Pranang Sang was used as a rallying point for soldiers and locals who gathered to defend Thalang.

Because tin was a semi-precious metal at that time, the locals were afraid that what was then known as ‘the Three Kings’ Buddha images would be plundered by Burmese soldiers if the town fell, which then seemed very likely.

The townspeople therefore planned to hide the tin Buddha images from the enemy. They built three large, hollow Buddha images out of cement.

The plan was to hide the three precious Buddha images, the town’s most important treasures, inside the larger cement Buddha. The tin Buddha images were therefore placed in the belly of the larger images and sealed away.

Phra Kru Vichit said that the townspeople also inscribed a coded text on the outside of the cement Buddha to indicate the treasure that was contained within.

In time, the tin Buddha images were forgotten, until one day somebody managed to decode the inscription. Suspecting that there might be something inside the hollow Buddha, they made a small opening in one of the cement images. Sure enough, they found a tin Buddha in the larger Buddha’s abdomen.

The excavators could only remove the heads of the three tin Buddha images from their casing. Attempting to remove the tin images would risk permanently damaging the cement Buddha casings, which are historical artifacts in their own right.

It was decided then that the three original Buddha images would remain inside their casings. Today they are also sometimes referred to as ‘Phra-Nai-Pung’, which literally means the ‘Buddha in the Abdomen’.

Visitors are welcome to pay their respects to what may be one of Phuket’s most mystical and cherished historical artifacts.

— Anand Singh

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Insurgency7 hours ago

Suspected insurgent wanted for murder killed by forces in Pattani

Thailand10 hours ago

Phang Nga reopening and “Phuket Sandbox” island hop extensions postponed

Best of10 hours ago

Bangkok’s 5 best SHA Plus Certified hotels

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Best of11 hours ago

Top 5 steakhouses in Phuket

Thailand11 hours ago

Bangkok Train Market official says they will reopen

Thailand11 hours ago

August vaccination plan: 80% of Bangkok residents; open to general public, expats

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand11 hours ago

300 beds added to Phuket’s second field hospital

Thailand11 hours ago

The Thaiger launches the ‘I Am Strong’ campaign

Indonesia12 hours ago

Earthquake hits Papua, Indonesia

Thailand12 hours ago

Thailand News Today | More Dark red zones, ‘coup rumour’ quashed | August 2

Thailand12 hours ago

Man arrested for allegedly robbing 7-Eleven stores in Bangkok to pay off gambling debt

Thailand13 hours ago

Protestors fill Bangkok streets to protest Prayut, many protest leaders present

Crime13 hours ago

Teenagers arrested for allegedly running underage prostitution racket

Thailand14 hours ago

PM’s daughters get letter asking them to tell their father to resign

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 17,970 new cases, provincial totals

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending