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Nang Nak location
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  1. #1
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    sad Nang Nak location

    If you have ever seen the hit Thai movie Nang Nak then you might be interested in visiting the location for the real story on the outskirts of Bangkok.

    Wat Mahabut, Sukhumwit Soi 77, Soi 7
    Sky Train to On Nut then a 15-20 minute walk east down a side road.



    I went there with Gor when he was taking pictures for his web site:

    http://www.thailandlife.com/nangnak.html

    The following newspaper clipping comes from The Nation and talks about the story and the location:

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Lady Luck



    Published on Feb 10, 2002



    The Wat Mahabut on Soi Onnuj is more known for the shrine of the legendary Thai ghost Menak of Phra Khanong. But for a whole lot of people, what draws them to the shrine is not the legend. But a belief that a tree there will give them the winning lottery numbers - story by Manote Tripathi.

    The air hangs sultry and thick with the whirling scented grey smoke of burning incense. The last rays of sunlight paint the sky red over the sharp edge of a corrugated tin roof. The towering takian(Malabar ironwood) trees stand guard over the shrine erected by the legendary Phra Khanong canal, and make up a spooky part of the compound of Wat Mahabut on Soi On Nut.

    The shrine houses a stern-looking, life-sized stone sculpture of a woman partially covered with gold leaves and draped in traditional Thai dress. But the face is black in a way that can send a chill down the spine of the observer. She looks right into the eyes of worshippers, her neck rigid, as if in deep thought. Her hair is long, and with a yellow flower tucked behind her right ear, she looks like she's alive.

    Behind the statue, a myriad of traditional Thai dresses is neatly lined up, creating a rainbow-like background. These dresses, though in different shades and styles, are invariably reminiscent of in vogue fashion of the early Bangkok era: sarongs, breast wraps and scarf-like strips. In the foreground, different types of children's wear and toys are well kept in a glass case with a girlie doll sitting atop it.

    Worshippers come in the dozens every evening, and even in the hundreds at the end of each month, especially on the day before the lottery results are announced.

    What looked like a deserted shrine before the 1997 economic meltdown has now become a guiding light again for the poor soul visiting the temple on a daily basis, says the abbot (awaiting full name) of Wat Mahabut.

    "But many more started coming to the shrine after the film Nang Naka year ago,'' says the abbot, referring to the blockbuster movie based on the ghost story.

    The temple has been the setting of many films made during the past 50 years based on the life of Mae Nak, a woman from the Phra Khanong district who is believed to have lived near the temple about a century ago.

    The legend says that the woman died during childbirth, but her spirit lived on as well as her love for her soldier husband, who wasn't aware of her death upon his return home.

    Fearing the wrath of the ghost, local villagers could not alert him about his wife's death and for several weeks, he stayed with the ghost. Finally he discovered the truth and abandons her, seeking refuge in a temple. The ghost then turns her ire on the villagers whom she blames for her husband's behaviour but finally her spirit is subdued by a Buddhist monk.

    It is believed that her dead body was buried under a takiantree by the river in Wat Mahabut. Over time, a shrine was built atop the burial site and pictures of the monk who is said to have calmed the spirit was once displayed inside the shrine.

    Year after year, the shrine expanded to receive a greater number of visiting worshippers, who were mostly Buddhist. But the abbot says Mae Nak's perceived power to fulfil anyone's wish has also drawn Muslims who are convinced that Mae Nak can predict winning lottery numbers.

    "Many Muslims have come to pay respect to the shrine. They all wanted the winning lottery numbers. They asked me if worshipping Mae Nak and offering alms to monks are against Islamic law. I told them if what they did was a good deed, then why worry because Islam encourages Muslims to do good deeds. So I assured them that what they did was all right. So many Muslims continue to visit the shrine to make a wish and offer alms to monks at the temple,'' says the abbot with a small proud grin.

    But the intense faith in Mae Nak deepens with the lingering economic hardship that still have affected people from all walks since 1997.

    "They need something that can help lift them out of economic problems,'' says the abbot.

    So on the eve of the day of lottery results, worshippers a mix of factory workers and well to do urbanites come together to gather around a big takiantree beside the shrine. Different brands of cars, from Toyotas to Mercedes Benz, pull in. Tents are set up and stalls open for business, turning the temple's lawn into a night bazaar with the glare of fluorescent lights and lottery sellers shouting what potentially winning numbers they might have.

    In fact, making a wish at the shrine has grown into a complex tradition. Worshippers need to buy a flower garland, incense and candles before entering the shrine. Then while making a wish, worshippers have to hold the burning incense and candles and place the flowers on the altar. Afterwards, they must purchase tree rubbing accessories which consist of a small bottle of oil and candles which are required when they rub the takianbark to find winning lottery numbers supposedly existing within the tangled natural lines on the tree bark.

    Rubbing can last for hours before any numbers appear. The fragrant oil helps lubricate the surface, and the candle's light illuminates any imagined numbers on the bark. After years of being rubbed and scratched, the tree stands dead, wax forming around the trunk. Experienced worshippers hold a candle a small distance from the trunk out of fear of that the heat will hurt the spirit of the tree. Sellers of turtles, fish, and birds in cages call out to the worshippers, encouraging them to finish off their worshipping by releasing these animals into the canal as a form of merit-making.

    Business thrives at the cost of monastic tranquillity.

    "We can't prevent them from coming in droves. Personally I don't enjoy the activities. I can't deny the public's faith in the shrine,'' grumbles the abbot.

    Forty year old Prapai Chuenkowit came to the temple for a funeral rite. Clad in black, the woman watches the crowd rubbing the tree bark for a while before stepping closer to rub the tree herself.

    "You need to wai the tree while rubbing its bark. And never hold the candle close to the tree, this might hurt the spirit inside,'' she says.

    Though Prapai, a Buddhist, had come to the temple to attend the funeral rites, the lure of finding a lucky lottery number draws her to join the crowd near the tree. Soon she exclaims, "Did you see? It's 26. Mae Nak is being kind to me,'' says Prapai.

    The more she rubs, the brighter the bark gets, allowing a clear view of small lines and curves, here and there, which can be formed into any desired number by the eyes of the rubbing person.

    Workers from the nearby SCS shoe-making factory are frequent visitors here. Earning Bt4,000 a month as an SCS factory worker, Sureerat Phookaew is a great believer in the powers of Mae Nak's spirit. She rubs the tree twice a month, on the days before the lottery results.

    "You need to rub long enough before Mae Nak is pleased and gives the winning number,'' says Sureerat, who joins her ten colleagues in the rubbing sessions. Newcomers are seen sitting on benches waiting for their turns.

    To cope with the overflow of worshippers, the abbot is considering an expansion of the shrine, which could cost a million baht or two. Costs are paid from donations. But the abbot would not reveal the exact figure.

    "You know with the worshipping crowd comes robbers. After dusk, I don't receive guests. All rooms are locked up,'' says the abbot.

    With the influx of worshippers and weary souls, it's obvious that Mae Nak's ghost is definitely far from eternal rest.
    Suthee "Phong" Buayam
    Learn Thai through music at www.ethaimusic.com
    Buy Thai music online at www.ethaicd.com

  2. #2
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    Re: Nang Nak location

    Thanks for the info

  3. #3
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    Re: Nang Nak location

    Fascinating place to visit. There are a couple more pics on my website in December 2004 gallery.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  4. #4
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    Re: Nang Nak location

    Great place to visit, walk around the river location afterwards some beautiful sites. So easy to get to too. Motorcycle taxi driver asked if I was a Buddhist when I asked him to take me there, looked at me a bit confused when I said no.

  5. #5
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    Re: Nang Nak location

    Feeling bored and nothing to do last weekend, I decided to go check out this temple since I'd enjoyed the movie and was fascinated it was "based on a true story".
    The temple is at Soi On-Nut Soi 7 about 20 min walk away from On-Nut sky train station. Small temple really and full of fortune tellers. At the entrance of the temple is a small shrine of a baby. You can see the dried up body inside a see-through "box". People drop money and buy gifts for the baby. Mae Nak's shrine is further in. Just follow the crowd. Inside the shrine, you can see potraits of Mae Nak. Beside the shrine is the famous lucky tree. It was mentioned that you can request for "lucky numbers" from Mae Nat or the tree at the best timing of 2am to 4am. I wonder who'll go at that hour. In front of the shrine is the river where Mae Nat allegebly waited for her husband.... at least thats what I was told. You can buy fishes, frogs or eels to release in the river for "tham boon". Small temple. I finished the tour in 20 mins and then proceeded to thonglor for nice phat thai and fried oyster.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Nang Nak location

    Thanks for the details...this is definitely on my list after having seen the movie!

  7. #7
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    Re: Nang Nak location

    Hi, does anyone know how old the Nak Nak shrine is. I'm not referring to the Mahabut Temple, but I'm interested in finding out when the shrine was actually set up.

    Thanks

  8. #8
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    Re: Nang Nak location

    Nice place to visit, been there twice. Went back the second time on mother's day, the shrine transforms, it's packed solid and the all sorts of intriguing rituals take place.

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