If you’re a fan of intricate architecture, rich history, and breathtaking scenery, Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple, should be on your bucket list. Located in Chiang Rai, Thailand, this iconic temple is a true masterpiece of art and craftsmanship that has been captivating visitors from all around the world.
In this article, we’ll delve into the history, symbolism, and architecture of the White Temple, and explore the many unique features that make it a must-see destination in Thailand.
History of Wat Rong Khun
The construction of Wat Rong Khun started in 1997 by renowned Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, who had a vision to create a temple that would reflect the beauty and purity of the Buddhist teachings. The temple was designed to replace an existing one, which was in a state of disrepair and abandoned for over 50 years.
Unfortunately, the construction was halted for several years due to lack of funding, and it wasn’t until 2004 that the project resumed. Since then, it has been an ongoing labor of love that is still being developed and expanded to this day.
Symbolism of the White Temple
Wat Rong Khun is a symbol of the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. The temple’s white color represents the purity and wisdom of Buddha, while the intricate design and decorations depict the illusions and desires of human beings.
The temple’s entrance is guarded by two giant sculptures of the hands of the damned, which symbolize the journey of life and the struggle between good and evil. Visitors are encouraged to walk through the mouth of a giant demon, which represents the passage from the cycle of rebirth to Nirvana.
Architecture of Wat Rong Khun
The White Temple is a stunning example of contemporary Thai architecture, with its intricate carvings, decorative sculptures, and shimmering glass. The temple’s design incorporates elements of traditional Thai temples, as well as contemporary art and pop culture.
The temple’s exterior is adorned with thousands of tiny mirrors, which reflect the sunlight and create a sparkling effect. Inside, the temple’s walls are covered with murals that depict scenes from Buddhist teachings, as well as modern-day events like the September 11 attacks.
Highlights of Wat Rong Khun
The White Temple is a vast complex that comprises several buildings and attractions. Here are some of the must-see highlights of Wat Rong Khun:
The Ubosot (Ordination Hall)
The Ubosot is the main hall of the White Temple, where Buddhist rituals and ceremonies are performed. The hall is adorned with ornate carvings, intricate murals, and a stunning golden Buddha statue.
The Golden Building
The Golden Building is a small shrine that houses a golden Buddha statue
encased in a glass case. The building is decorated with intricate gold carvings and surrounded by reflective glass panels.
The Bridge of “the Cycle of Rebirth”
The Bridge of “the Cycle of Rebirth” is a stunning white bridge that symbolizes the journey of life and the passage from the cycle of rebirth to Nirvana. The bridge is guarded by sculptures of the hands of the damned, and visitors are encouraged to cross it to reach the main temple.
The Gallery of Paintings
The Gallery of Paintings is a long hallway that features intricate murals that depict scenes from Buddhist teachings, as well as modern-day events and pop culture references. The murals are created in a unique style that blends traditional Thai art with contemporary elements.
The Hall of Buddha
The Hall of Buddha is a small building that houses a large white Buddha statue. The building is decorated with intricate carvings and features a peaceful and serene atmosphere.
The Sanctuary of Truth
The Sanctuary of Truth is a large wooden building that is still under construction. The building is adorned with intricate carvings that depict scenes from Hindu and Buddhist teachings, and it is said that it will take more than 20 years to complete.
The Museum of the White Temple
The Museum of the White Temple is a small building that houses a collection of artifacts and memorabilia related to the construction and history of the temple. Visitors can learn more about the temple’s symbolism, architecture, and cultural significance.
The Fountain of Life
The Fountain of Life is a stunning water feature that is surrounded by white sculptures of elephants, dragons, and other creatures. The fountain represents the cycle of life, and visitors are encouraged to toss a coin into the water for good luck.
How to Visit Wat Rong Khun
Wat Rong Khun is located in Chiang Rai, about 15 minutes from the city center. The temple is open daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, and admission is free.
Visitors are required to dress modestly and remove their shoes before entering the temple’s main hall. Photography is allowed but flash photography is prohibited in some areas.
Wat Rong Khun is a true gem of Thailand, a stunning white temple that is both a masterpiece of art and a symbol of Buddhist teachings. Its intricate design, rich symbolism, and cultural significance make it a must-see destination for anyone who loves architecture, history, and culture.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor to Thailand, Wat Rong Khun is an experience that you won’t forget. So why not add it to your travel itinerary and see for yourself why this iconic temple has captivated visitors from all around the world.
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- What is the meaning behind the White Temple’s design? A: The White Temple’s design represents the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, with the white color symbolizing the purity and wisdom of Buddha.
- Can visitors take pictures inside the temple? A: Yes, visitors are allowed to take pictures inside the temple, but flash photography is prohibited in some areas.
- Is there an admission fee to enter the temple? A: Yes, admission to Wat Rong Khun is not for free anymore
- What are the opening hours of the temple? A: The temple is open daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
- Is there a dress code for visiting the temple? A: Yes, visitors are required to dress modestly and remove their shoes before entering the temple’s main hall.
Price and opening days
60 หมู่ที่ 1 Phahonyothin Road, Pa O Don Chai, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57000 Phone: 66+ 053 673 967