Admiring old Thai paintings carries the viewer back in
time to experience ancient lifestyles and stories of the past, and the
murals at Nong Bua Temple, Tambon Pakha in Thawangpha, Nan province, is one
of Thailandís most important art heritage.
Lanna style church of the Nong Bua Temple, perfectly constructed by a Nan
Nong Bua Temple is located at Tambon Pakha, about 45
kilometers from the city of Nan, on highway 1080 Nan-Pua Road.
Take a left turn at kilometer 40, and follow the road for
another three kilometers, where you will see the busy Tai Leu tribe village,
with most of them weaving Tai Leu style textiles. These textiles, together
with the ancient culture of Tai Lue, which emigrated from Xishuangbanna, is
worth visiting and an interesting experience.
picture of western armies holding rifles, and Thai armies wearing uniforms
with European soldier hats.
It is said that the Nong Bua Temple was originally
located near the Nong Bua swamp, about 500 meters away from its present
location; however, there are no structural remains. It was later moved to
the present area and registered by the Religion Department, established in
1772 by Monk Sunanta and the villagers. This temple is a perfect example of
Thai Lanna style architecture, hardly to be seen anywhere else these days.
There are also beautiful murals on the walls, but regrettably, no further
written history of the temple can be found, and one has to rely on the
information and traditional stories told by the village elders.
ladies wearing Pha Zin Lai Nam ankle-length skirts getting ready for a bath.
Phra Khroo Manith Boon Karn or Khroo Ba Panya, a monk who
knows the history of the temple well, told us that Thep, his father, who was
a soldier for Chao A-nanthayod, Nanís king (governed in 1852-1891), went
to war in Puan City, Luang Phra Bang, Laos, and after the war, he asked an
artist from Laos named Thid Bua Phan to create the murals at the temple,
assisted by San Pijit (a monk) and the soldier. The murals are believed to
be 103-142 years old.
box keeping dried palm leaf scripture, 167 years old, can be found in the
Some details of the paintings depict the history of the
time and assist in calculating the age of the temple, such as a picture of a
steam boat and western soldiers. The steam boat must have arrived from
Europe or America, and Thailandís historical documents tells that a steam
boat first arrived in Thailand during the period of King Rama IV. A picture
of a rifle with bayonet fixed that Thailand used during the period of King
Rama IV or Rama V, can be found, suggesting that the murals were created
during this period.
A Buddhist story appears in the painting, telling about
Chanthakad Chadok, a story of Buddhaís teaching that the village calls
Khao Tham Chantha Chadok, which is a story used for admonishing children to
live morally and be honest, kind and faithful.
Every mural reflects stories of the ancient lifestyle, and especially the
ones at Nong Bua Temple depicts the villagersí past lifestyle. It offers a
valuable chance for new generations to experience interesting history, even
the fashions, showing an ankle-length skirt worn by the ladies of the
village, called Pha Zin Lai Nam, which is very beautiful and well know even
Nagas (serpent) mixing with lion statue decorating a roof of the church,
Nong Bua Temple.
pot containing water for visitors.
shelter beside the church has a beautiful decoration.
mural painting at the east side.
western soldiers holding rifles with bayonets on top.
boat that apparently came from Europe is depicted on this mural.