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Saturday, July 18, 2020

Wat Nam Cha (วัดนํ้าฉ่า) Kham Talay So, Nakhornratchasima

I last visited this wat five or six years ago. It has a small but interesting collection of Khmer era artifacts. I was interested to see if they were still around. So, I cycled there from home.

The wat is in the village of the same name and is reachable from Highway 2068 via a small paved road which closely follows the Lam Takhong River

These two rather unique Buddha (?) images are located under a Bodhi Tree opposite an old Ubosot (ordination hall) which houses the antiquities.

This leaf shaped Sema Stone would have been used to mark the boundaries of an Ubosot.

This Khmer-era Yoni and Lingam probably date to about the 11th century.

This carved hunk of sandstone is what is left of a rather large lintel which would have been over the entrance of a large building.

This detail is of the figure on the right edge of the lintel which probably would have been at the center originally. It shows the Hindu deity, known as หน้ากาล, in Thai and as Kirtimukha or Kala in English. The inset shows a less eroded image. This deity is a common ornamental motif often found in Khmer temple art.

I'm not sure who this represents. It might be Shiva or maybe even Vishnu. It sits atop a Yoni

This Buddha image sits atop a Yoni.

This is the inside of the old Ubosot in which most of the Khmer artifacts pictured here are located. 

These Buddha images might be quite old. I'm not expert, but the style including the attached earlobes make me think that they are not recent.

Part of the ceiling of the ubosot is beautifully painted.

Detail of ubosot ceiling

Buddha images inside of ubosot.

A Rishi (ฤษี or ฤๅษี in Thai) is a hermit sage or recluse. In the Vedic traction a Rishi is an accomplished or enlightened person

This could be Brahma or Vishnu. Trouble is, in his right hands he is holding objects normally held by Vishnu: a discus and a mace. But in his left hands he is holding objects normally held by Brahma: the Vedic texts and a scepter. 

This is Jayavarman VII who was King of the Khmer empire from about 1181 to 1218. During his reign he improved the "Khmer Highway" (from Angkor Wat to Prasat Hin Phimai in Korat) by building a series of rest houses along the route.

The exterior of the old Ubosot at Wat Nam Cha

I was kind of curious about the name Nam Cha (นํ้าฉ่า) which could be translated into English as "sizzling water". The word cha is onomatopoeic, so I was searching for something that made noise. It certainly wasn't the river in the vicinity of the wat. 

However, upstream several hundred meters is this dam built to collect water for the municipal supply. They river falls about a meter here. I suspect there may at one time been some mild rapids here, now replace by the dam. That might have been the source of the sizzle.

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