Wat Sirindhorn Wararam Phu Phrao : Spectacularly Illuminated Temple
After the sun dips below the horizon, its energy stays on to show off a beautiful creation at the back of the chapel of Sirinthornwararamphooprao Temple in Ubon Ratchathani Province. It appears as if the area has absorbed the energy of the sun during the day and then releases it in a glowing light at night.
The spectacular image at the back of the chapel is a gigantic glowing kanlapapruek tree, the work of artisan Kanagorn Parinyapunno, a friend of the abbot of Sirinthornwararamphooprao Temple. Inspired by the ‘Tree of Souls’ in the blockbuster movie Avatar, Kanagorn used phosphur to coat the images of the kanlapapruek tree and other motifs on the ground.
While waiting for the magic moment, visitors can enjoy the intricate architecture of the chapel, which was inspired by Chiang Thong temple in Laos. Inside the chapel, a gilded principal Buddha image is enshrined. It was sculpted following the design of Phra Buddha Chinnarat in Phitsanulok Province. Regarded as the most beautiful Buddha image in Thailand, Phra Buddha Chinnarat is also Phitsanulok’s most revered Buddha statue. Intricate stucco work adorns the interior and pillars of the chapel. Moreover, the temple is situated in one of a few superb places for viewing the sunset in Ubon Ratchathani.
As night falls, the motifs and bas relief sculptures start to glow as they have absorbed the sun’s radiation during the day. The best time to view this fantastic display is between 6.00 and 9.00 pm. The illuminated kanlapapruek tree definitely looks just like the light-emitting ‘Tree of Souls’, as its creator intended.
Tumbon Chong Mek, Amphoe Sirindhorn, Ubon Ratchathani Province
Thai Smile Airways offers direct flights from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Ubon Ratchathani Province. Once there, rent a car at the airport and take Phibun Mangsahan-Sirindhorn Road. Sirindhorn Wararam Phu Phrao Temple is about 70 km from the city of Ubon Ratchathani and about 3km before Chong Mek Immigration checkpoint (look for road signs for directions).