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Wat Mangkon Kamalawat (Wat Leng Noei Yi)
At the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown is the Chinese-Buddhist temple of Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, known in Chinese as Wat Leng Nui Yee. The temple is the center of festivities during important festivals such as Chinese New Year and the vegetarian festival.
You enter the temple through a passageway off Charoen Krung Road. The temple is a low rambling structure with the requisite dragons playing with a pearl on the roof. Inside you’ll find a labyrinth of courtyards and passages connecting various alters to Buddha as well as Taoist deities. All the while, the smoke of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of sticks of incense fills and swirls about the courtyards.
If you make your way back far enough, you’ll find one courtyard with cases full of standing gilded Buddha images on either side.
Outside of the temple building is a place to burn paper offerings for ancestors. Unfortunately, the temple’s forecourt is often filled with parked cars. The best time to see the temple in all it’s glory is during the annual Chinese New Year celebrations when Wat Mangkorn is the center of festivities.
Wat Mangkon Kamalawat known as Wat Leng Nei Yi in Chinese name ( Leng means Dragon, Nei means lotus and Yi means Temple). It is the largest most important Chinese Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Thailand. It hosts celebrations of a number of year-round events, including Chinese New Year, and the annual Chinese vegetarian festival.
It is located in the district of Pom Prap Sattru Phai in the city’s Chinatown, in a courtyard off Charoen Krung Road, accessed by an alleyway.
Wat Mangkon Kamalawat was founded as a Mahayana Buddhist temple in 1871 by Phra Archan Chin Wang Samathiwat (also known as Sok Heng), initially with the name Wat Leng Nei Yi. It was later given its current name, Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, meaning “Dragon Lotus Temple”, by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V)
The temple is built in a classic Chinese architectural style, with typical sweeping tiled roofs decorated with animal and floral motifs, including the Chinese dragons. The Ubosot (ordination hall) houses the temple’s main, gold-colored, three Buddha images (present at the center, past at left &right ) in the Chinese style, and are fronted by an altar at which religious rites are performed.
The main entrance is flanked by large statues of the four guardians of the world, the Chatulokkaban, clothed in warrior costumes, two on each side. There is the future Buddha Image in the middle. Around the temple, there are shrines dedicated to a variety of Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian deities and religious figures, all-important in local Chinese beliefs. There are altogether 58 images.
The courtyard in front of the main temple buildings is home to several other shrines, including a furnace for the ritual burning of paper money and other offerings to the devotees’ ancestors.