Among the many temples in Phuket is Wat Phranang Sang, said to be the oldest temple in Phuket with a history of more than 300 years. Being close to Thalang the former capital of the island, it has played an important role in safeguarding the island and its Buddhist heritage. However no one is sure of how it came into being except for popular stories that have been circulating for as long as anyone in the area can remember. Some of which are that it was built by Phranang Lueatkhao, the pious wife of a ruler of the island who is said to have met an unfortunate end and also that there is buried treasure there.
The temple is remembered as the place where the islanders took a stand when Burmese invaders arrived there in the late 18th century. Two statues on the temple grounds honour local heroines who rallied the population in the defense of the island.
Extensively renovated and added on to Wat Phranang Sang now attract visitors who come to see some of the most ancient artifacts found on Phuket, namely the largest and oldest tin Buddha statue in the world inside the stomach of which are three smaller statues. Originally tin was considered a precious metal and the statues were covered in cement to prevent plunder by invading armies. The most exciting part of the temple’s history has to be the part where a coded text on the cement Buddha was decoded leading to the discovery of the statues, which have been left undisturbed.
Among the other interesting features of the temple are the mummified remains of one of its abbots, a large statue of the reclining Buddha, large and small images of the seated Buddha and colourful frescoes in the main shrine room depicting stories from the life of the Buddha and of historical events.
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