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  Wat Khao Bandai It
Catagorize: Temple
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Wat Khao Bandai had been an ancient monastery since Sukothai period and became a temple in the period of Ayutthaya. It is located in Rai Som Sub District, Mueng District, Petchaburi Province. On Bandai It mountain there are a number of caves. There is an evidence that in 1628, during the reign of Phra Boromaraja II, ‘Phra Si Sin,’ the king’s bother, was arrested and exiled from Ayutthaya to one of the caves at Khao Bandai It because his plan to accumulate people and take over the throne was unveiled. When Phra Si Sin was imprisoned here, Luang Mongkol, who was a relative on his mother’s side, gathered servants to drill the caves in order to connect them together and reach the large cave where the prisoner was held. The cave was sealed close by some boards. The guards sent down food and drink in a basket but it was left untouched and nobody answered the call. It was concluded and reported to Ayutthaya that Phra Si Sin already passed away. The cave was thus ordered to be closed with soil.

Phra Si Sin, however, escaped from the cave, concealed himself and gathered people and soldiers and finally revolted against the king. He established himself as a center of power in Petchaburi but, eventually, was arrested and brought back to Ayutthaya where he was executed. 

In addition, the story goes that during 1697-1706, which was the reign Phra Chao Suea in the late Ayutthaya period, Phra Ajarn Seang, a monk with strong knowledge and powers in both Buddhist practices and black magic, came to reside at Wat Khao Bandai It until his death. The place was peaceful and remote, making it suitable for the practice of dharma. In Rattanakosin era, Sunthorn Phu also visited the temple and described the place in his ballad titled ‘Nirat Mueng Petch’.

History goes that Phra Ajarn Seang was the black magic instructor of Phra Chao Suea. The monk left for Khao Bundai It because he was resentful that he could not prevent the King from cruel practices to women. The monk believed the king should not behave this way and also that his acquired sacred knowledge will deteriorate.  

Phra Chao Suea has a vehement nature. He was immersed in sex and hunting while being talented in black magic and sorcery. His people were terrified of him so they named him ‘Phra Chao Suea’ or ‘the Tiger King’. Part of the chronicle goes that the king ‘is pleased with drinking liquor and having sexual intercourses with young girls around the age of 11-12. If the girl wriggles, he gets angry and would nudge her at the chest till death. If the girl stays still, he would be pleased and gave her rewards. For another thing, when he went for shark hunting around Si Chang Island, Sam Mook Island and other territories, he usually drinks liquor and he would become enraged if his concubines or servants make the royal yacht sway. He would order the person tied to a hook and thrown into sea as shark feed. Also, as negligent as he is in the five commandments, he is pleased to have sexual intercourse with the wives of noblemen. As a result, the king was so called ‘Phra Chao Suea’.’     

On his visit to Petchaburi, the king went fishing in his royal boat around Bang Taboon Sub District, Ban Laem District, and lodged in a pavilion which was set up for him at Ban Koong Residence. It was said that he issued a law against fishing his favourite fish, which were carp and climbing perch. 

Apart from fishing and elephant hunting, the king came to Petchburi also to ask Phra Ajarn Saeng to come back to Ayutthaya. However, the monk refused and the king had no choice but to let him stay and had the temple restored. Wat Khao Bundai It, as a result, was developed and became a remarkable attraction.   

One of the notable features is the gable of the ubosot which has brought much praise to the temple as one of the masterpieces of stucco works. The work is a stunning motif of Petchaburi artisans: a garuda encircled with delicate kanok pattern.    

At Wat Khao Bandai It, visitors can also visit some beautiful caves. The first is ‘Pra Thun Cave’ where a number of Buddha images were enshrined along on both side of the wall. Next is ‘Phra Chao Suea Cave’ which was said to be where the king came to see Phra Ajarn Seang and brought a standing image of Buddha in the calming the ocean position to be housed. Located deeper towards the south is the cave of the reclining Buddha, where the cab of the boat which Phra Chao Suea gave to Phra Ajarn Saeng was kept in a corner. In addition, there are other caves such as Phra Athit Cave, Phra Chan Cave, Sawang Arom Cave, Chang Phuak Cave, and Duke Cave which was named after Duke Johan Albert from Braunschweig, Germany, who once visited Pecthaburi.       

To get there, drive along Highway No. 4 and turn right into Highway No. 3171. Khao Bandai It is located 2 kilometres from Khao Wang. The mountain is 121 metres high. 


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