Take your rental car out for a drive in Khon Kaen and head to one of the city’s most fascinating attractions – Wat Nong Wang. Officially known as Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakhon, it is located in the Thai Royal temple – Wang Nong Waeng’s grounds. Wang Nong Waeng temple was constructed in 1793 whereas Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakhon was built in 1990s; the latter is also popular as ‘The Great Buddha’s Relics’ and ‘The Nine Storey Chedi’.
Wat Nong Wang’s nine storied Chedi is its most striking feature where, as we go up, each story reduces in size and gradually it ends in a goldepire marked by a ceremonial umbrella; its multi-headed Naga flanked stairs are also one of the highlight.
The fact that the temple houses various bone relics of Buddha and his disciples, makes it even more significant; it was built to mark the 50th anniversary of King Rama IX’s reign.
Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakhon Highlights
First Storey is home to relics stored in crystal houses where people come to pay their respect; they have been set on a throne with three Buddha statues in its middle. These relics kept in glass jars are of Buddha’s disciples and are accompanied by ‘108 alms’ bowls; each represents one disciple of Buddha.
Second Storey has Isan Museum which houses various ancient objects which are rare nowadays. Third Storey is monk-learning hall which also houses ‘Nang Phom Hom’ the most loved tale of Isan’ folklore. Fourth Storey is also a monk-learning hall with a museum which in addition to ancient objects also contains pictures of Buddha. Similarly each of its 9 storey structures has something unique to offer but 9th storey not only houses Buddha relics but also provides an observation deck which provides a ‘360 degree’ view of Khon Kaen. The doors and windows of the Chedi are painted with previous reincarnations of Buddha.