The Sothorn Buddha
Pra Buddha Sothorn or Luang Pho Sothorn is a Buddha statue greatly revered for its sacredness. In the seated meditative attitude, the gilded stucco statue of 165 centimeters from knee to knee and height of 148 centimeters displays the distinct characteristics of Lan Chang art, the art that is prevalent in the northeast of Thailand and Laos.
It is said that originally Luang Phor Sothorn was a bronze statue with all the beautiful characteristics of a Buddha image. Fearing that it would not survive a burglary, the monks in the wat masked it with stucco.
No one knows how long Luang Pho Sothorn has been installed in the wat. Legend has it that three Buddha statues floated along the stream from the North to Tambon Sam Pratuan, Cha Cheong Sao precinct. Despite much effort, the people in the neighborhood could not pull them out of the stream.
Afterwards, the largest statue drifted down further to Ban Laem, Samut Songkram province. It was therefore installed at Wat Ban Laem. The smallest, floating down to Bang Plee, was housed in the ubosot of Wat Bang Plee. Luang Pho Sothorn, the second largest, drifted to Wat Sothorn pier. After arduous attempts to retrieve Luang Phoh failed, a master was called in to perform a ceremony. Sacred threads tied around the wrist of Luang Pho Sothorn was effortlessly lifted and has been installed in the wat since then.
Formally known as Wat Hong, Wat Sothorn Wararam Worawihan is belived to have been built around the end of the Ayutthaya Period. Situated on the west bank of Bang Pakong river, the wat was completely destroyed by a flood. A new wat was then constructed, taking the name of Wat Sao Tong after the banner pole in the wat. But as the pole was blown into two pieces by strong wind, the name was changed to Wat Sao Taun
The wat received a new name again when it came to house Luang Pho Sothorn. Wat Sothorn, the name at the time, means the three Buddha of the same womb. Later yet, the spelling was changed to fit the attributes of Luang Pho. Wat Sothorn, in its present spelling, means the temple of the sacred Buddha image.
Wat Sothorn Wararam Woravihan
This temple is located on the edge of the Bangpakong River in the south part of the city. It was built during the Ayutthaya Period. Towards the end of this period, the revered "Luang Por Sothon" was enshrined there. The statue is sculpted in a meditation pose. It is 1.65 metres wide and 1.48 metres high. Every day, a large number of people come to pay homage to "Luang Por Sothon". Some will pray to have their wishes granted, and those who are successful will return to present offerings by commissioning the dancers who are on hand to perform as a way of showing gratitude. At present, the Ubosoth or main chapel is being rebuilt as the original was in a state of disrepair. The new Ubosoth is in the style of the Rattanakosin Period and will be completed in 1998. Upon completion, this temple will be the largest white marble temple in the world. In the area of the temple, there are stalls that sell food produce and local merchandise from Chachoengsao and nearby provinces. At the temple's pier, there is a long-tail boat service to take people between the market in the city and the temple. The cost is B40,or it is possible to rent a boat to see the sights along the Bangpakong River. The cost depends on the number of people and the distance of the route.
The Luang Pho Sothorn Cerebrating Festival
* DATE :
The festival is held twice a year
1.The fourteenth phase of the waxing moon in the fifth lunar month to the first phase of the waning moon ( three days, three nights)
2.The twelfth phase of the waxing moon on the twelfth lunar month to the first of the waning moon (five days, five nights)
3.Chinese New Year holiday ( five days, five nights)
* Ceremonies and Activities
The first celebration took place when Luang Pho Sothorn had been installed in the ubosot. From then onward, the celebration is regularly held three times a year:
-The fourteenth phase of the waxing moon in the fifth lunar month to the first phase of the waning moon. Open theaters are provided all through these three days and three nights.
-The twelfth phase of the waxing moon on the twelfth lunar month to the first day of the waning moon. Performed on the eve is the chanting of sermons whereby magical power is instilled in Luang Pho votive tablets. A procession of a Luang Por Sothorn reproduction is held both on land and water.
-Chinese New Year holiday. A large crowd of people from every direction pour into the wat to pay respect to Luang Pho.