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Most classical Thai art originated in or under the patronage of the royal courts. It is an blend of the finest cultural tradition of Asia, molded and stamped into unique forms instantly recognizable as Thai. Classical art encompasses Buddhist art as represented in religious architecture, decorative murals, and Buddha images. Thai Classical Dance The art reflects the complex formal structure and etiquette of court culture with its heavy Indian influences.
Another category is popular art, which arose from age old village realities and the rites associated with birth, death, and the seasonal cycle of crop cultivation. When speaking of Thai art in general one is able to distinguish between these two groups.

The Sino-Portuguese Architecture of Phuket Town

The significant Sino-Portuguese buildings of Phuket were built in the tin mining era. First influences came from Chinese architecture, showing in the design of the roof including doors and windows. The buildings were mainly one- or two-story buildings made from brick and wood. They had thick walls with Chinese-style tiles.

Phuket Town: Dibuk RoadLater influences included Chino-Portuguese and Malayan styles originating from Penang. Also Western styles contributed to the distinctive Sino-Portuguese architecture, including the compositions of the classic Renaissance and neo-Europe classic with the mixture of Chinese and Thai style architecture.

This new building architecture is about 60 to 100 years old. One of the charming of these house style is the use of the arch in their architectural design. Curing pillars standing in row are on the first floor of each building, to carry the weight of the second floor and to mark the space of arcade or Nlgorkakee (Chinese for "pavement with roofs").


Laying Giant Buddha at Wat Hat YaiGiant Buddha Statues - Not as famous as Phuket's temples, but perhaps more interesting because of their obscurity, are Phuket's two giant Buddha images. Housed at samnagsong, or meditation centers, rather than at temples, these two massive sculptures are famous among Thais and almost unknown to tourists.
Both giant statues were built to grace temples built by Luang Boo Kantisilo, a 100 year old life-long monk and world-famous meditation teacher who has chosen to make his final home on Phuket.

Phuket Temples: Wat ChalongWat Chalong is located on the airport bypass road north of the traffic circle at Chalong. Even though Wat Chalong is the temple with the biggest influx of tourists, it is still far from crowded. This temple is the most elaborate and famous on the island, revered for being the site of resistance to an invasion by Haw Chinese in the nineteenth century. The temple underwent refurbishment in 1993, and today it is a stunning example of traditional Thai architecture and décor, colorful and vivid. To this day, Wat Chalong is famous for its healing powers and Thai people from all over the country flock to this place in order to regain their physical and spiritual powers.

Phuket Temples: Wat PatongWat Patong - Patong Beach, the hustling and bustling tourist area on Phuket's western coast has its own Buddhist temple, surprisingly big in size and not too well known by the tourists. It is a most impressive icon of the city and the best time to visit the temple of Patong is in the late afternoon, when the light of the setting sun shines in the thousands of golden ornaments.

Wat Phra Nang Sang - With more than 200 years, the Wat Phra Nang Sang in Thalang is the oldest Buddhist temple on the island, built to a time as Thalang was still the capital of Phuket. The place, where the temple stands is of historic interest, because the battle with the Burmese invaders in 1785, a crucial date in the history of Phuket, took place right here. Legend says, that the Burmese tried to invade Phuket, because the temple owns ancient manuscripts, who show the location of a buried treasure. These manuscripts, of a religious nature rather than this more worldly one, are called Lai Tong and are folded like an accordion – the Wat Phra Nag Sang claims to have the longest of whole Thailand.

Wat Phra Tong - Wat Phra Thong, located on Thepkasatri Road in Thalang, is besides Wat Chalong the second most important temple on Phuket, but its fame is derived by a magic Buddha statue and not from the healing powers of a monk. The presiding Buddha statue is believed to be solid gold within a layer of plaster. In a seated position and exposed up to the middle of the chest, it stands two meters tall, suggesting a full height of four meters.
A legend says, that it popped up from the ground and was discovered by a young boy, who bound his water buffalo on a metal shaft sticking in the ground, really the Buddha's crown, which was the only part of the image above ground at that time. Shortly thereafter, the boy fell ill and died. A vision of his father told the people of the village, that the metal shaft was really a Buddha image, but the villagers could not excavate more than the upper half of the statue. Then they built a ordination hall (bot) around it.
1785, the invading Burmese army tried to dig out the image, too, but a horde of bees attacked them vigorously and they fled. A cast of cement and plaster was placed over the image to prevent further attempts to remove it and so the image is still left there half buried in the middle of the bot. Nobody knows who made the image or why it was buried, but legend says that from the day of discovery, dire misfortune has befallen everyone who has ever tried to dig it up.


Magha Puhja - "Maghapuhja" is a pali (and sanskrit) word consisting of two elements - Magha and puhja, which means "the third lunar month" and "worship" respectively. So, the whole word means "worship on the full-moon day of the third lunar month in commemoration of the Great Assembly of Disciples".
Buddhist Monks collecting food in the morning According to Buddhist scriptures, nine months after Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment on the full-moon day of the third lunar month in the year 587 B.V., a total of 1.250 disciples of the Buddha from various places spontaneously assembled at Wat Veluvan in Magadha to pay their respects to their teacher.
The date of the festival varies annually, according to the lunar calendar. In 2000 it was on February 19th.

Visakha Bucha - This is the holiest of all annual Buddhist religious days. It marks the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Lord Buddha. As on Magha Puhja, temples throughout the country are crowded with people who listen to sermons by revered monks. In the evening there is a solemn candlelight procession around the main monastery building. The date of the festival varies annually, according to the lunar calendar. In 2000 it is on May 17th.

Asaraha Bucha - On the full-moon of the eighth lunar month the Buddhas first sermon after attaining Enlightenment more than 2.530 years ago is celebrated. There are evening candlelight processions in all Thai Buddhist temples.
The date of the festival varies annually, according to the lunar calendar. In 2000 it is on July 16th.

Chinese Vegetarian Festival - Every year on the first day of the ninth month of the Chinese calendar (usually in late September or early October), the inhabitants of Phuket of Chinese ancestry commit themselves to a nine-day vegetarian diet.
Phuket Festivals: the Chinese VegetarianThe followers of the custom insist that by doing so, spirit and body are cleansed, that participants will gain great merit and that the subsequent year will be trouble-free.
On the first day the gods, spirits and ghosts are begged to grant their merciful assistance to the people. After dark on the fifth and sixth day, believers gather at different locations to run over glowing charcoal.The participants running over glowing charcoal suffer no burns on the soles of their feet.
On the morning of the eighth and ninth day there are again processions throughout the entire town. Contrary to the procession on the first day, blood is shed. Several participants pierce different parts of their bodies with iron needles and occasionally even with lances up to four meters long.

Loi Krathong Festival - One of the more picturesque festivals celebrated at October and November is the Night of the Floating Candles,  Loi Krathong, on the night of the full moon of the twelfth lunar month (this year it was on October 21st). Loi means to float and krathong is a leaf cup normally made of banana leaf. There is also a lotus flower, a burning candle and several incense sticks. A common belief is that floating the cups brings good luck and drives out the bad ghosts that have arrived during the previous year. Also, people send their good wishes and promise to change bad habits as the boat floats downstream.
In the evening, when the full moon begins to rise, people carry their krathongs to the banks of the waterways. After the candle and incense sticks are lighted, the krathong is pushed gently out onto the surface of the placid water. A few folk will raise their hands in worship. They watch the krathong as it floats sluggishly along until it is out of sight.

Phuket Festivals: Songkran in Soi Bangla, PatongSongkran Festival - The Thai New Year, is by far the most important event of the year for the Thai people on Phuket.Songkran peaks on the 13th of April, but the activities run a couple of days on each side.
Songkran is a time for cleaning the house thoroughly and for families to get together. It is a day for promises to be made and an occasion for general merrymaking.
Anyone who ventures out on the streets is likely to come home soaking wet, since people splash ice water on one another in abundance but all in a spirit of fun, welcome at the peak of the hot season. The people arm themselves with buckets and water hoses and line up on road sides to wait for pedestrians, motorcyclists and cars to pass by. In the spirit of the day, everything can be drenched with water and have perfumed talcum paste smeared all over it. Of course, the tourists are not spared from the fun, everybody should be aware of that. You should put all valuables in a plastic bag, not go out with a camera that is not water-proof, wear old shoes and clothes that can take a soaking. Drivers should make sure to keep their windows shut, since the interior upholstery can suffer water damage. By keeping these few safety rules in mind, Songkran will be an unforgettable and colorful exotic event for you!


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