Visit the Sak Yant Festival with Khiri Thailand

March 12, 2013 by | Filed Under: Authentic Experiences, Festivals, News, Thailand

Magical Amulets, Spiritual Tattoos and Possession
A 2-day tour with a difference…
22 & 23 March 2013

Traditional Thai tattoos, known as Yantra tattoos, are believed to have strong magical powers…
People get them for protection and good luck. Popular with soldiers, policemen and members of Thailand’s underworld, the tattoos are said to have the power to stop bullets and break knife blades.
The monks of Wat Bang Phra will do the tattooing on the evening of 22nd March and believers come to show respect to both living and dead tattoo masters on the morning of the 23rd.
The Wai Khru ceremony is a unique opportunity to witness “Khong Khuen” (animal Spirit possession), when tattooed men are “possessed” by the spirit of their tattoos…

A Buddhist monk uses a needle to tattoo the calf of a man during the annual Magic Tattoo Festival at Wat Bang Phra

Tour Program

Day 1: Friday 22 March 2013
Bangkok – Nakhon Chaisi
Meals: D

This afternoon meet your guide & driver at Ambassador Hotel (Sukhumvit Soi 11, Nana BTS) for a unique day in which you gain insight into the Thai spiritual beliefs regarding amulets and tattoos.
First we visit Bangkok’s biggest amulet market near Wat Mahathat, specializing in religious amulets, charms, talismans, and traditional medicine. Many Thais flock here, studying tiny images of the Buddha with magnifying glasses, hoping to find one that will bring good fortune or ward off evil. Besides images of the Buddha you will notice lots of other (& stranger) amulets depicting mythical creatures or cryptic script. This shouldn’t be surprising: although most Thais are Buddhists, they also mix Hindu, Brahman, animism, and various superstitions into their spiritual belief.

The amulets come in all styles and shapes, made of metal, wood, bone or plaster, and can include sacred ash from incense, coloured dust from a temple’s bricks, human hair or other material. Your guide can tell you amazing stories about some of these amulets.

Afterwards we head out to Nakhon Chai Si as the remainder of the day (and tomorrow) is focused on a very special, once a year only, event: the annual Wai Khru Ceremony during Sak Yant Festival held at Wat Bang Phra.
We check in at our local hotel in Nakhon Chaisi and following a nice riverside dinner head out to the temple to observe the tattooing… At 22 pm we return to our hotel as tomorrow has an early start.

 

Due to the physical nature of this event we recommend that visitors maintain a respectful distance from the ceremonies at all times!

 

Overnight at parnDhevi Riverside Resort & Spa, Lanna room

Day 2: Saturday 23 March 2013
Nakhon Chaisi – Bangkok
Meals: B

Be ready at 6 am, as we need to be back at the temple just before 7 am when the Wai Khru ceremony is about to start.

Traditional Thai tattoos, known as Yantra tattoos, are believed to have strong magical powers. People get them for protection and good luck. Popular with soldiers, policemen and members of Thailand’s underworld, the tattoos are said to have the power to stop bullets and break knife blades. Although ingrained in Hindu culture, the tattoos, known in Thailand as “Sak Yant”, are heavily influenced by the ancient Khmers’ form of Sanskrit, which was renowned for its magical powers. Each year devotees pay their respects to tattoo masters in a special ceremony known as Wai Khru (honor the teacher) or master day.
Believers come to Wat Bang Phra to show respect to both living and dead tattoo masters. A late abbot of the temple, Luan Phor Pern, was famous for his tattooing skills. The ceremony is quite a spectacle and the place to witness “Khong Khuen” (animal Spirit possession), when tattooed men are “possessed” by the spirit of their tattoos.

Please be aware that this ceremony can be quite shocking as some of the possessed devotees transform themselves into animals; sounds of monkeys, dogs, elephants, crocodiles, screams and maniacal laughing can be heard across the temple compound. Devotees run, crawl and slither on the grounds of the temple’s parking lot. Most try to run towards the main stage at full speed where the monks are chanting. Many stumble and fall into the crowds, hurting themselves and other people. Everyone seems to be screaming and the overall impression is one of madness and chaos…

Security is usually provided by groups of volunteers, their main goal is to catch and calm the possessed devotees. Rubbing the ears calms the possessed and they snap back into reality, slowly walking back to their seats and starting the entire process over again…

In the late morning we return to our hotel for checking out and return to Bangkok.

– End of services –

 

PRICES LAND ARRANGEMENT
Please enquire with Khiri Travel Thailand for the best price.

INCLUDING

–       English speaking guide services

–       Transfers in air conditioned minivan

–       All meals as mentioned (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)

–       Accommodation at parnDhevi Riverside Resort & Spa (Lanna room), double sharing

PRACTICAL
Friday 22 March, 13 pm, departure from Ambassador Hotel (Sukhumvit Soi 11, Nana BTS)
Saturday 23 March, Around 12.30 pm, arrive back at Ambassador Hotel

For extra information on the festival click here.
For more information on the program and bookings, please contact [email protected].