Wat Phra Luang That Nerng
Wat Phra Luang That Nerng is located at 177 Moo 5 Tambon Phra Luang, Amphoe Soong Men, Phrae. It is considered as an ancient and important temple for town people. It is still unclear when the temple was built.Wat Phra Luang That Nerng has a long history based on War Phra Luang’s legend complied in 1966 by Phra Kru Punya Pichai, the 13th abbot. He said that, originally, the village and Wat Phra Luang used to be a huge forest dense full of trees and wild animals including a big snake that ate the villagers’ pets. A Chin Haw Chinese merchants brought goods to sell and stayed at a hotel in Baan Soong Men. They let their horses to look for food nearby. Some of the horses that walked into the forest suffocated and eaten by the snake. This happened several times causing the Chinese merchants to be very frustrated and they tried to find the way to get rid of the snake. They created a trap and placed it in front of the snake hole before cutting the trapped snake into pieces and leaving them near the hole. The merchants came back and found that the remains had become gold and silver so they split into 3 parts: one for the merchants, one for the governor, and the other was buried in the hole.Later on, a group of people assumed to be Burmese cleared the land and settled. They built houses, a temple, and a pagoda to cover the hole. It is unknown how long they stayed here and when they moved or were forced to leave but the area was abandoned for a long period of time and all the buildings were ruined. Moreover, the pagoda and the principal Buddha image were also worn out. In 1787, Tai Lue people and monks from 3 villages and 3 temples in Chiang Rai evacuated to Baan Soong Men in Phrae and helped building a village as well as renovating the abandoned temple and the Buddha image. They named the temple “Wat Phra Luang” and the village “Baan Phra Luang”. It is believed that both names could come from the big Buddha image. Wat Phra Luang has many important historical sites including the pagoda, a hall for keeping scriptures, and a bell tower. The town people renovated the remains to be a valuable place to pay respect as well as a local center of people’s spirituality until now.Wat Pra Luang That Nerng also holds a significant festival to pay respect to Phra That Nerng which takes place annually in March. Tourists can also join the festival. The temple is 2 km away from Soong Men District and 9 km from Phrae.