Wat Rong Khun
Chang Rai, Thailand
053 673 579
Wat Rong Khun Chang Rai Reviews
The modern white temple of Chaing Rai Jul 12, 2008
This temple is initially very dazzling- the white plaster walls embedded with tiny mirrors mean that the temple reflects the sun light. Some of the surrounding garden were still being built when I visited but the walkway out of the front of the temple is flanked by fountains. At first, you only notice the absence of colour and gold that adorn most temples in this part of the world. However, as you look closer, you will see some of the figures in the fountains are not your usual temple inhabitants- crabs with wings and in the moat a demon guard that looks straight out of a cartoon. There is even a pit of hell. I was surprised to see this but I suppose modernity is what it is.
You can't go in most of the temple but inside the main room is definitely worth a look. The Buddha shrine and wall thaat faces the door look relatively normal, with Buddha in the sitting pose and the wall painted with an ornate image of Buddha with golden and orange hues.
The back wall however is a bit more idiosyncratic: the bright image depicts the demons of Buddha crushing the world, particularly America. Icons of America such as yellow taxis and coca-cola vans, even Neo from the matrix make an appearance. Above the demons, firs and brimstone is a skull and above this Buddha sits, lifting true followers of merit into Nivana. Whilst I am not a fan of Americanisation, I'm not so sure whether Buddha himself would appreciate such a fierce image in his honour. But it makes a change to the normal temples if you are a bit templed out on this part of your trip.
Part of the SKIP 2008-Adventures in Thailand travel blog
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