Located in the Northern section of George Town, Wat Chayamangkalaram is the oldest and most important Thai Buddhist temple in Penang and the island’s focal point for the festivals of Songkran and Loi Krathong.
- Opening Hours: 08:00 to 17:00 (main hall)
- Entrance fee: Free
About Wat Chayamangkalaram
Penang Island, and George Town is particular, is notable for the many different cultures that have influenced its development and culture. Most significant, and best known, amongst these immigrant groups are the Chinese, Indians, and British. All three of these groups constructed a series of eye-catching religious buildings in the Old Town area of George Town such as the Thean Hou Kong Temple, the Sri Mahamariamman Temple and St. George’s Church. Less known is that a significant number of Thai and Burmese people also came to settle in George Town during the 19th Century. Census information from 1830 suggests that a total of 648 Thai and Burmese people had settled in the area, out of a total population around 40,000. The grouping of Thai and Burmese people together in the records is because of their shared history, the geographical proximity of their home countries, and their shared religion, Theravada Buddhism. It is also no coincidence that the main Thai temple in the city, Wat Chayamangkalaram, is adjacent to the main Burmese temple, Dhammikarama Temple.
Wat Chayamangkalaram was founded in 1845 on land granted to the resident Siamese community by the British colonial authority in the name of Queen Victoria. The current name of the temple, Wat Chayamangkalaram, was given in 1948, and in 1962 it was officially opened by King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand during a state visit to Malaysia.
Wat Chayamangkalaram has many features typical of a Central Thailand temple including colourful statues of Yaksha (a type of mythical demon) guarding the entrance and a stupa. The main point of interest at Wat Chayamangkalaram, however, is its 33 metre long statue of the Lord Buddha in a reclining position representing the last period of his life before his death. The statue is, it is claimed, one of the longest reclining Buddha statues in the world. In the base of the statue many urns contains the remains of worshippers are stored which is indicative of this temple being closely linked to a community of overseas Thai people with a long history on the island.
Location of Wat Chayamangkalaram
- Wat Chayamangkalaram is located on Lorong Burma in George Town on Penang Island.