Hauntingly beautiful – these are perhaps the two best words that describe the White Temple, an unusual, yet breathtaking structure in Thailand. Known to locals as Wat Rong Khun, this is a Buddhist temple in the Chiang Rai province.
Only one word comes to mind as you take in every inch of this temple – bizarre. Although every painstaking detail in this structure takes your breath away with their wonderful religious symbolism, what stays with you long after you leave the temple complex are the surreal depictions of Buddhism that are visible all over the temple’s stunning architecture. It leaves you mystified, albeit in a very satisfying way. White Temple is Thai culture at its most interesting form yet.
The entrance to the temple is marked by traffic cones with ghoulish embellishments on their tips. One of the main features of the White Temple is the circle of death and rebirth – here, you will be astonished by the ‘Ocean of Hands’ rising from two sides of the walkway, some of them holding large bowls, into which many travellers drop alms. One of these bowls is know as the ‘Bowl of Suffering’, which is what prompts the alms from visitors.
Image Courtesy: used under the Creative Commons Licence
A pristine Buddha sits inside the main building of this temple. It is marked by tranquility and serenity, and you cannot help but contrast the sight of the peaceful Buddha with the temple’s whimsical surroundings. It is what makes a visit to White Temple completely worth it, and certainly makes your travel experience very memorable.
The end of the 20th century saw the temple is a state of utter ruin. However, efforts are in progress today to restore this temple, although work is not expected to conclude until 2070. Despite this, White Temple sees many visitors who are left mesmerised by its fantastical appearance. So, be sure not to miss out on this must-visit in Thailand – White Temple.
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