Wat Phra Nang Sang
Wat Phra Nang Sang is the oldest temple in Phuket, dating back maybe more than 500 years. If I read what I can find on the internet, it seems the exact age is unsure and for sure the temple has been renovated and rebuilt over that time. It might be accurate to say a temple has been on the site for 500 years. One story says a powerful southern Thai ruler had the temple built for his wife. Another story says that the temple was built in honour of a princess who was due to be executed, although she had been framed and was innocent. When she was executed she bled white bood, thus showing her purity. The temple is also called Wat Luad Khao (White Blood Temple). In 1785, the Burmese invaded Phuket and were fought off by the people of Phuket led by 2 sisters. The Phuket people gathered at this temple before the battle which was fought nearby. At that time, Thalang was the main town in Phuket.
The battle is commemorated every year in March at the Phuket Heroines Festival in Thalang. A statue of Thao Thep Kassatri and Thao Sri Sunthon (known as Chan and Mook before King Rama I gave them these names for their valiant defense of Phuket) lies in the temple grounds - a larger one can be seen at the Heroines Monument - a traffic circle on the main road between the airport and Phuket City.
I first stopped at Wat Phra Nang Sang in 2006 and have meant to visit again for ages. Parts of the temple were still being built and indeed now in 2015 there are still parts being built, and a whole new temple complex has been built behind the old temple! It's never ending! The grounds are quite large, it's worth taking your time.
(above) I visited with my boy in May 2015. There's a lot to be seen here.
(above) The white and gold temple was not there in 2006!
(above) The "Yak" is a guardian which you'll find at the entrance and surrounding many Buddhist temples. They are normally scary, big toothed ogre type creatures. This was the first I have seen with boobs and an assault rifle!
(above) Inside one of the temple buldings at Wat Phra Nang Sang. The walls are covered with stories from the life of Buddha.
There's a lot of history here. My daughter was amazed to see a mummified Abbot who died about 50 years ago I think. Not sure she could believe she was seeing an actual dead Monk. There is another building featuring 3 large Buddha images. These were built before the Burmese invasion. The temple was home to 3 sacred Buddha images made of tin, which would have been taken by the invaders had they not been beaten back. The tin Buddha images were hidden inside the 3 images that you can see, which were made of concrete. The tin images were apparently forgotten about and only uncovered as recently as 1973. Phuket was, until the mid 20th century, a major tin mining center and this helped to make Phuket quite wealthy.
Nearby in the Thalang area you can also find Wat Phra Tong (which lies a bit further north) and Wat Sri Sunthon (a little way south of Thalang). There's also a memorial on the old battlefield which I need to find someday and I believe somewhere are the ruins of the old governors house from the early 19th century.
Update 2016 - Wat Phra Nang Sang was one of 3 temples my son and I visited in one afternoon - see here : Thalang Area Phuket Temples
Wat Phra Nang Sang - Location Map
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