A bit of a large photo post for one place I visited for today – Wat Rong Khun – the White Temple of Thailand found in the Chiang Rai provence. Designed by famous artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, Wat Rong Khun is a piece of architectural beauty. Building starting in 1997, the wider temple grounds are still being worked on to this day, although the temple itself is all finished aside from ongoing maintenance to keep it shining in the surrounding landscape.
Approaching the entryway we are welcomed by some ‘tree spirits’ reminding us that no whisky (drinking) is allowed within the temple grounds, and also no smoking. The whisky tree shows images of people with ugly distorted faces, acting like monsters (basically really drunk people), and the smoking one shows people with poor, early aged complexion. There is also the Predator. I don’t expect his type are welcomed either.
Here is the cardboard version of Chalermchai Kositpipat
Ringing a big bell, we enter onto the temple grounds and towards the temple. It really is an amazing piece of work (and functioning temple). Im reminded that no photos can be taken inside (Im sure you will find someone who’s been disrespectful if you google for it), but up to the door is fine. Carp swim in the small moat surrounding.
Looking from the side, you can see a bridge one ascends to the temple. on the right, at the bottom the gleaming white is a dirty brown. Thats not lack of maintenance, its the spirits/beings whom are not pure enough to make it up.
We were instructed not to hang around the entry to the bridge posing for photos. One, it blocks traffic flow. Two, its not particularly good to hang around all these arms trying to pull you into the sludge/mud as you try to ascend to the temple. I grabbed a shot as we walked over.
Inside the temple (no cameras) was a mix of traditional and artwork. The artwork was interesting as it showed all manner of things that were ‘bad’ – wars, guns, superheroes, someone that looked like Michael Jackson from thriller etc. etc. that was all looking back in the direction of the bridge. Looking forward it was more colourful and peaceful.
I then visited the good luck well and walked through some of the walkways with hanging offering tab things (their correct name escapes me for now)
And came across a tree with some more recognisable characters. I was told they were not all bad, but their spirits were corrupted or troubled and would never be pure. Bat Man, Hell Boy – makes sense. A few more nasty heads there too.
Behind that tree was what must be one of the most impressive looking toilets in the country
An that concludes my visit to the White Temple. Tomorrow we will continue with a look around some more of the Northern edge of Thailand.
(wish all road cones looked like this!)