Here’s one of the four-thousand-odd wats in Thailand not to miss if you’re driving up the south Thailand coast from Nakhon Si Thammarat to Surat Thani: วัดเจดีย์ (ไอ้ไข่วัดเจดีย์) aka Wat Chedi (Ai Kai Wat Chedi) aka CHICKEN TEMPLE!
The TripAdvisor listing claims it’s not that easy to find, but I dunno, we didn’t have any problem following the signs, seeing as how there’s TWELVE FOOT CHICKENS every couple hundred feet soon as you turn off the highway and all.
The essential forms of worship at CHICKEN TEMPLE are that along the way, or just outside, you buy yourself a chicken, and you buy yourself firecrackers.
Either of these would be a rather unusual purchase at a place of worship, and we’re fairly sure that this is the only place where you would purchase them as a set.
The firecrackers, you light those off — 10,000 of them, the box we bought! — while making a wish for good fortune or whatever, it seems. Most fun we’ve ever had praying, we tell ya!
The chicken, you place that with all the other chickens that people have brought along for offerings.
There are many chickens at CHICKEN TEMPLE.
Very very many.
A veritable plethora of chickens, in fact.
But this is our chicken, which we tucked under the trees in a relatively secluded sport where hopefully our chicken will be around for quite a while!
The story of Wat Chedi doesn’t appear to be readily researchable in English. We gather that Ai Kai is the spirit of a pilgrim that protects the temple…
… and we gather that Ai Kai amulets are a really big deal that only get a batch released every ten years (we’ll be back then!)…
… but how on earth the rooster and firecracker traditions got started, we have no idea. If any of you are more steeped in CHICKEN TEMPLE lore, please share!