Pilgrims of Wat Tham Boya
Every year, at the occasion of the Khao Phansa festival in Thailand (the Buddhist Lent), anyone can go to meditate in a Pagoda. It can just be to get away from your daily routine, or make good on a vow like to quit smoking.
Usually people living in cities would take on that opportunity as a number of pagodas and revered places have basic infrastructures to welcome the devotees. A number of cave systems across the country are also popular and offer a safe refuge from the elements and mundane disturbances.
In this case the favored place is a large cave system in Central Thailand named Wat Tham Boya which measure about 120 meter in lengths and at part 20 meter’s high and was discovered 50 years ago. It’s entrance marked by a sacred tree, is halfway up the hill above a pagoda and can be access by a fight of a couple of hundred steps adorned with gilded statues and small shrines. Here, mostly women come to meditate as the facilities are rather good. A huge gilded Buddha statue, about ten meters in height sits near the entrance and there are another half dozen small shrines adorned with Indu gods at other corners of the cave. The place has been fitted with tents and it resemble a wild underground camping site.
People spend their time praying alone or in group at different small shrines, reading and sleeping. Since one of the main feature of the Khao Phansa festival is the making and setting of big candles at the places of worship, we can see the statues adorned with often more than a meter high candles which have been carried up there for the occasion.
The pictures are available at ONASIA.