Sunday, July 8, 2012

City Pillar Shrine - Temples of Ubon Ratchathani

Cities and towns in Thailand always have city pillars and their shrines. They represent the locale and secondarily provide an attraction for visitors. At the south corner of Thung Si Muang Park rises a sacred pillar built in 1972 - the City Pillar Shrine. It's open to visitors daily from 5 AM to 7 PM. People can pray here and offer gifts. This particular shrine has a surfeit of elephants of varying sizes and colors. Outside, the tired roof is adorned by a golden pyramidal spire at its center. The chofahs are a graceful coterie of thin, tapering antelope-like structures that reach towards the heavens. The shrine gable is a mixture of intricately carved dragons in gold and red. From the park fields, you can't not notice this beautiful structure standing in front of the City Museum (officially called Ubon Ratchathani National Museum). I asked local what they call the place and he said "Wat Salak Mangan".


Curiously, I didn't find any Buddha here, yet there are offerings (flowers, incense, garlands) surrounding what could be the central altar in the middle of the room. This is probably because this structure isn't really a "temple", but a "shrine" - and while the former is a house of worship, a "shrine" isn't.

Ubon is unexpectedly rich in unique places to discover, though some books say otherwise.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Graceful chofahs and the golden chedi (stupa) on top

Colorful gable


An unusual chedi

Lotus at the pond near the shrine

City Pillar Shrine from the arched entrance of the National Museum.

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