Wat Mai Luang Pu Supha (also known as Wat Sila Suparam) in Chalong is a relatively new temple on the island. This beautiful and inviting property was built with attention to detail but it is famous mainly because of its founder Luang Pu Supha who is probably one of the most respected and long-lived monks in modern Thai history (it is said that he is over 110 years old).
He’s dedicated a large part of his life (almost a century to be exact) to being a Buddhist monk spreading the word of dharma and building almost 40 temples and monasteries around the country (three of them are in Phuket).
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One of the most important structures in Thai temples is the ubosot or ordination hall and it is usually more elaborately decorated than other buildings. The one at Wat Sila Suparam is in classic Thai style and was built next to a small lake. Its classic three-leveled triangular roof is covered with beautiful yellow glazed tiles. The windows feature some unique samples of Thai traditional carving and painting.
In front of the ubosot stands a statue. It portrays the Buddha in a sitting position with a seven-headed serpent naga over his head. Legend has it that there was a time when the Buddha was in deep meditation under a tree during a storm. The king of naga who lived in a pond nearby was worried about the Buddha, so he used himself as a shelter to protect him from the heavy storm as well as mosquitoes and such until the Buddha completed his seven-day meditation session. This Buddha image is also a symbol of people who were born on Saturday.
Another interesting thing inside Wat Mai Luang Pu Supa is the museum of Luang Pu Supa that exhibits the life and works of the temple’s abbot and includes a statue of him.
Born over 110 years ago, Luang Pu Supha spent the first 70-80 years or so of his monkhood as a pilgrim monk and travelled around not only in the country but to other Asian countries and as far as Europe. Everywhere he went in Thailand, he helped the locals with various projects along the way. His extraordinary works include building bridges in rural areas, hospitals for sick monks and more. Read more about him here.
There are other reasons why many people, especially Thai tourists, come here. It is because they want to obtain an amulet and charm that was made by the abbot. The most sought-after items are; a) a spider talisman (or yantra/mandala) which are very popular among shop owners and business persons who believe that it will bring them many customers and businesses, b) a crocodile charm that people believe gives them power to guard them from robbery and violence.
Chalong is home to three famous places of worship. They are Wat Chalong, Wat Sila Suparam and the Big Buddha on Nakkerd Hill. Each are located not far from each other. You can easily spend a half a day seeing them all.
Wat Mai Luang Pu Supa
- Opening Hours: All year round
- Location: Chaofa West Road, Chalong Area.
- How to get there: From the Central Festival Phuket shopping mall go towards Chalong, the temple is near Phunaka Golf Course, Phuket Tree Adventure and about 500 metres before the famous Wat Chalong.