Amulet Adventure - Stainless Steel Temple
Amulet Adventure - Stainless Steel Temple
Amulet Adventure – Millions of different amulets can be found all over Thailand in shops, at markets, and at even at collectors events. Many of them are replicas and mass-produced. It is hard to get the real deal as they are not mass-produced and there are so many collectors of the real thing. Nowadays because of mass production, it has become more important who bless and activate the Amulet or Takrut for good luck or protection. I have collected many Amulets over the years from different temples and one of the best temples I have been to is the Stainless Steel temple in the mountains. Thai amulets are usually produced to raise funds for temples, temple projects, or special events and celebrations, such as the inauguration of a new Buddha statue or temple building. Sometimes they are created for the birthday of a famous monk or on his death. Amulets are often buried at the site of a new building during the construction of the foundations or the laying down of the main pillar.
With the aim of purchasing amulets for this site and taking the numerous donations of money and goods we had collected for the temple, we recently decided to take a trip to the Stainless Steel temple. The temple was built of stainless steel on the island on the lake using donations given for the eightieth birthday of King Rama IX. The temple was completed in 2007 but new buildings and statues are continually being added.
Amulet Adventure – The full name of the temple is Wat Pak Lum Kha Khang, in the Khao Chot area of the Srisawat district of Kanchanaburi. It is in a remote area and can only be reached by boat. There are no roads in the area which is part of Chaloem Rattanakosin National park. It is a very beautiful area with deep forests that support various kinds of wildlife, including elephants, leopards, tigers, and gibbons. Many places around here are so deep in the forest that they may never have been visited by humans.
We rented a large houseboat to accommodate our big group. We stocked the houseboat with all the necessary provisions to last the full trip, as there are no stores or supplies unless you take them with you. Our group had brought water and drinks, cooking supplies and gas, sleeping bags, and small tents. We used the tents to camp on the decks of the houseboat and had magnificent views of the lake and the forests around us.
Some of the group had come in huge 4 x 4 off-road vehicles with the intention of going off-road adventuring, before joining us for the final leg of the journey to the temple. The vehicles were parked safely on the hill above the houseboat and we all settled down to eat and enjoy our first evening on the water.
The next morning most of the group were up at six getting the vehicles ready. They set off while we waited for the boatmen to get the houseboat ready to sail to the midway stop. The two men in the Thai longboat cast off the houseboat and pulled us slowly towards our destination. The river was calm and the sun was hot and beautiful.
We moored the houseboat and went swimming in the cool, clean water. The off-roaders joined us shortly after. One of the trucks had turned on its side in the forest but they had righted it again and everyone was unhurt. We settled for the evening, some people taking the chance to fish and others to sit and reflect on the lovely surroundings.
Amulet Adventure – We set off early for the temple visit. It took us a few hours, as progress was slow with the houseboat being towed with everyone and their supplies on board. The sun was burning down in the clear air and the heat was soporific.
We finally stopped at the bottom of the steep slope and climbed up the path to the temple. Everywhere was full of green trees, orchids, and beautiful flowers. There were many smaller buildings on the grounds beside the stainless steel temple.
The massive stainless steel Buddha gazed peacefully over the bay as we climbed through the overpowering heat of the day. The monks were already waiting for us in the main hall. We had taken donations of money, essential goods for the temple, and monks and gifts to donate to the temple. The head monk officially welcomed us all and thanked us.
The large hall was full of sacred paintings, and statues, including huge red statues of the Buddha that have been recently added. The head monk led us in taking the Refuge and prayers, then after repeating his thanks to us he spoke a blessing to all. He carried the ornate Kan Nam Montr, a big metal bowl of prayer water, and splashed everyone with a bunch of herbs dipped into it to bestow blessings on us all. Members of our team were invited to collect a small vase filled with liquid, which is then poured into a small bowl, while the head priest chants. This establishes a close affinity with Buddhism for all those present and brings blessings of an abundant flow of merit, virtues, material resources, and good conditions in the future.
The ceremony and donating over, we rose and looked around the hall. We were invited to strike the big gong three times for more luck and blessings. Now it was time for us to buy the amulets we wanted as our time at the temple was limited. We asked to see them out of the glass case so we could examine them closely. The temple has a huge display of various Takrut and amulets.
Old and new amulets were presented to us to choose from, along with a presentation case of three special Takrut amulets made from bullet casings. These were inscribed with sacred symbols and encased in glass to protect them. These bring protection and good luck to the owner of them. Other amulets and Takrut had a ring fitted or were in a casing so they could be worn.
There were too many amulets to purchase them all, so we donated money for a selection of them and took photographs of the others for future reference. With the amulets safely in our possession, we explored the surroundings, admiring the exquisite craftsmanship which had been used to create the beautiful stainless steel Buddha and temple.
All too soon it was time to return to the houseboat and sail back to where we stayed the previous night and the off-road vehicles parked up there. The sky was darkening by the time we got back and we got hit by wind and rain. I sat in my tent with the photographic equipment in the hope my tent would stay on the deck and not blow into the water in the wind.
By dawn, the weather had cleared again and the off-road team left us to go through the forests again. We sailed slowly and peacefully back to our starting point. Sadly, it was time to collect our belongings, dismantle the tents, and leave for the ferry home.
We arrived there and the off-road team had beaten us to it by going back through the forest a different route. It was a great adventure getting to the temple to buy the amulets and take the donations. I am looking forward to my next adventure to buy amulets.
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