No matter how many times it is told or how familiar it may be to the reader, almost everything about the story of Mae Nak is surprising. The love legend of Mae Nak has been repeated and shot on video and each tells a slightly pretty different story. According to tradition, the events occurred during the reign of King Mongkut. The story is about a beautiful young lady named Nak, who lived by the riverside of Phra Khanong district in Bangkok, and her undying love for her husband, Mak.
Many love stories we hear end with a tragic death, but death doesn't necessarily mean the end of the story. Such is the tale of Mae Nak, as depicted in the horror film Nang Nak that was released in 1999 and a latest series was called Mae Nak was released in 2012. It is based on a famous folk tale, Nang Nak or as Mae Nak Phra Khanong, which means Miss Nak of Phra Khanong District. A romantic tragedy and horror film, it's said that the spirit of the lovelorn Mae Nak continues to call out for her husband as she walks the plains of a separate dimension.
According to local legend, Nak, a beautiful young lady who lived near the banks of Phra Khanong river near central Bangkok, fell in love and married a man named Mak. When war broke out, Mak was conscripted and sent to fight in the Siamese - Vietnamese War, and have to leave his pregnant wife alone. Unfortunately, Nak died in childbirth, along with her baby. However, her spirit refused to leave. Eventually, when Mak returned from war he found his beloved wife and child alive and well. Life as he knew it went on as usual, they lived together for some time.
But one day, a friend visits and see Mak living with Nak. The villagers, knowing that she is death, realize Mak is spellbound by the ghost. But those who attempt to tell him are killed by the ghost of Mae Nak in the night, desperate to stay with her husband. When Mak confronts Nak about the rumours about her death, she lied and said the villagers disliked her after Mak left for the war. Before he eventually realized that the rumours he had heard were true, and that he was in fact living with ghosts in a decaying home.
One night, Mak finally discovers the truth, he saw the reality of the state of his home and what his wife and baby really looked like. He was fearful and overcome with anger. He ran away in terror and took refuge in a temple, and called in a monk for help. The kingdom's most respected Buddhist monk (Somdej Toh is also known as Archan Toh), Archan Toh went to Nak grave and has the centre of Nak forehead cut out to capture her spirit, and in a tearful farewell Nak repents, leaving her husband for this life. There are many variations to this legend and how it ends.
In the year 1997, a shrine of Mae Nak has been placed at Wat Mahabut temple built in the late Ayutthaya period, supposedly her burial place. Locals peoples often refer to it as Wat Mae Nak Phra Khanong (Temple of Mother Nak of Phra Khanong). The shrine relocated to nearby Suan Luang District of modern Bangkok, where people go and make offerings to Mother Nak who resides there. The shrine is filled with colourful traditional Thai clothing, flower garlands, cosmetics, milks and toys offered by devotees to Mother Nak and her child.
Mae Nak story is still very popular because her undying devotion to her husband inspires people of all ages. To this day, many peoples go there for blessings and guidance and any other that one might name. Mae Nak is also believed to be benevolent at giving out winning lottery numbers. On the eve of the lottery draw, the shrine is bustling with ticket sellers, fortune tellers, and merit offering by releasing lives to freedom of all beings.
Location: Wat Mahabut Temple, On Nut, Sukhumvit 77 How to get there: Take the BTS to On Nut Station. Wat Mahabut Temple is located about 900 meters down Sukhumvit Soi 77. The temple is at the end of Soi 7.
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