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The History of Making Phra Somdej Wat Intharaviharn

The History of Making Pra Somdej Wat Intharaviharn

Wat Bangkoonprom as we generally know for short was formerly known as Wat Bangkoonprom Nai and the official name at present time is Wat Mai Armataros.  In the year 1868, Samiantra Duang the ancestor of Tanagoses family name renovated the monastery and built one big pagoda.  In the year 1870 Somdej Pra Puttajarn Toh Prommarungsee presided over as the president of the ceremony at Wat Bangkoonprom Nok or officially known as Wat Intarawiharn to produce Pra Somdej Bangkoonprom for 84,000 tablets equaling the number of the Dhammakkhanda to be kept in the Niche of that big pagoda.

All kinds of ingredients used to make Pra Somdej Bangkoonprom are similar to those of Pra Somdej Wat Rakang. Except that Pra Somdej Bangkoonprom were composed of lime stone more than that of Pra Somdej Wat Rakang besides they are kept in the pagoda for a longer time. Their textures therefore is harder than that of Wat Rakang.

In the year 1873 just one year after the death of Somdej Pra Puttajarn Toh, cholera outbreak had killed many people in the country. Somdej Toh has come to the dreams of many people that Pra Somdej amulet could cure that deadly cholera disease by drinking holy water by dipping them in water. Wat Saket appears in most 19th - century accounts of Bangkok not only because of its Golden Mount but also because it was a resting place for the dead during cholera epidemics. Too numerous for conventional cremation, the bodies were laid out at the temple for vultures to devour.

Anna Leonowens, the Englishwoman who was hired by King Rama IV to teach some of his majesty's wives and children, wrote: “None but the initiated will approach these grounds after sunset, so universal and profound is the horror the place inspires – a place the most frightful and offensive known to moral eyes.” Paupers and unidentified dead bodies were also brought to Wat Saket for more conventional cremation.

Besides there are many circumstances of the magic of Pra Somdej during those times that have made the needs to search for Pra Somdej amulets more. In 1882 some of Pra Somdej were stolen by way of dropping a rope with one end sticking with clay or soaking with glue into the Niche to catch the amulets up. This was done many times and many amulets were lost. The amulets obtained at these times were called Pra Somdej of Old Niche (book reference below - Somdej WRK green cover).

Therefore in 1957 the official opening of the Niche was done and Pra Somdej amulets were sold to public to raise fund for the purpose of renovation and improvement of the monastery. The amulets obtained at this time were called Pra Somdej of New Niche (book reference below - Somdej WRK green cover)

The texture of Pra Somdej of old niche is of fine texture without or with little sediments. In contrast Pra Somdej of new Niche are of hard texture with a lot of sediment covered either on one or both sides.

Pra Somdej Bangkoonprom is composed of 9 prints as follows;

1.Big Print or Pim Yai

2.Pim Jedee (Small print)

3.Pim Tarnsaam (Additional base)

4.Pim Gesbuatoom (Lotus head)

5.Pim Prokpoh (Bodhi leaves)

6.Pim Sangkati (Shoulder cloth with and without ears)

7.Pim Sendai (Thin line structure)

8.Pim Tarnku (Double base)

9.Pim Okcroot (Garuda chest)

The first 5 prints are the same of that Wat Rakang except with four more additional prints for Wat Bangkoonprom.

The above votive tablet is the later series of Somdej consecrated at Wat Intharaviharn in B.E. 2549 (2006). Also shown below is a set of new series amulets (B.E.2550) consecrated to represent past abbot Luangpu Pu's amulets that is now highly valued.

For more readings see Wat Intharaviharn article in this blog site

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