Contact: Ban Loet Sawat, Amphoe Si Khio, Nakhon Ratchasima Tel. -
Wat Khao Chan Ngam, also known as Samnak Song Khao Chan Ngam, is a temple formerly known as Wat Loet Sawat, located in the village of Ban Loet Sawat, Lat Bua Khao Subdistrict, Si Khio District, Nakhon Ratchasima, about five kilometres from the village. It is a place where Buddhist concepts are taught and the Dharma practice is held. Besides, the temple is well known for its prehistoric paintings, aged over 4,000 years. Considering the landscape around the temple, this area must have been inhabited by prehistoric man. There are spaces between stones which resemble caves, similar to the habitat of Stone Age or prehistoric man.
Situated on a mountain called Khao Chan Ngam, which is part of the Khuean Lan Mountains, once you take the first step into the temple, you will be surrounded by serenity and a relaxing atmosphere. From the car park, there are concrete stairways that will lead you uphill. You will have to walk about 100 metres through a shady jungle with densely packed trees. Once you reach a three-way intersection, there will be the statues of Sivali and the Buddha in the standing and blessing position, both of which you can pay respect to. Symbolically, these statues inform you that you are now entering a Buddhist area.
If you turn left at the intersection, the path will lead you to the ubosot housing the temple’s principle Buddha image with three caskets in front of it, containing the Buddha’s relics.
On the contrary, the path on your right will lead you the temple’s famous cave paintings. Walk about 30 metres along the path and you will reach the entrance to the paintings. There is also an interpretation board located near the entrance, informing visitors of the discovery of the paintings. It says this place is discovered in 1983 and is one of the major archaeological sites in the North East. It possesses prehistoric paintings on a large sandstone cliff. The paintings are 3-4 metres above the ground. After passing through the entrance, you will see a space between massive rocks which are partly covered with tree roots. This is so fascinating and phenomenal. It would have taken at least over a hundred years for the roots to grow all over the rocks like this. If you continue walking along the path, you will reach a larger space, in the middle of which grows a tall tree. With the shade of the tree and the rocks on both sides, this site resembles a small cave. The paintings are on the rock on the right side but you will not be able to see it if you have just entered the site. What you have to do is walk straight to the middle of the site and turn around. Then you will see the paintings on your left side, about five metres above the ground.
The paintings are painted in red. They portray animals, men, women and children in different postures such as sitting, dancing, standing and shooting an arrow, which are probably the lifestyles of those inhabiting here 3,000-4,000 years ago. There are also some pictures that remain incomprehensible.
If you continue your journey through the jungle and walk about 80 metres uphill, you will see a small image of Katyayana carved into sandstone on your right side whereas on your left side, there will be a large colourful stuccowork of the Reclining Buddha on a sandstone wall. It is 12.75-metre-long. Near the feet of the Buddha image is an inscription containing the details of both Katyayana image and stuccowork.
From here, the path will lead you uphill to the four footprints of the Buddha. They are hosted about 10 metres away from the stuccowork. They are four layers of the Buddha’s large footprint carved into a stone, with a width of five metres and a length of 9.50 metres. Around the footprints are stuccoworks of several gods.
You will absolutely be impressed by these fantastic and beautiful attractions unique to Wat Khao Chan Ngam.