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Wat Rong Khun Temple

Wat Rong Khun Temple

When exploring Buddhist temples, people are often surprised by the abundance of colors found in the architecture and furnishings of such places. Wat Rong Khun breaks with traditional concepts, and the first feature that strikes is the complex’s near-absolute whiteness. Wat Rong Khun is a Buddhist temple at the southern end of Chiang Rai in northwest Thailand. This temple is privately owned, and its construction only started 20 years ago. 

Wat Rong Khun is a unique temple characterized by its white color and the use of pieces of Glass in the plaster that gleam in the sun. The white color represents the purity of the Buddha, while the Glass symbolizes the wisdom of the Buddha. And the Dhamma, the Buddhist teachings. Chalermchai Kositpipat, a famous Thai visual artist, designed Wat Rong Khun. To date, the temple still needs to be finished. Ultimately, there will be nine buildings, including an ubosot, a hall for storing Buddhist relics, a meditation hall, monks’ quarters, and an art gallery.

On May 5, 2014, Chiang Rai was hit by a powerful earthquake. Although the White Temple was severely damaged, Chalermchai Kositpipat decided to restore and expand Wat Rong Khun.

History of the Wat Rong Khun

By the late 20th century, the original Wat Rong Khun needed to be improved. Restoration work on the temple began but had to be stopped due to a lack of funds. Chalermchai Kositpipat, a Chiang Rai-born artist, decided to completely rebuild the temple and finance the project with his own money. The artist built the temple as a center for learning and meditation and for people to benefit from Buddhist teachings. Work is currently ongoing.

For more information on meditation and a list of retreats and temples in Thailand that teach meditation, read Meditation Retreats in Thailand.

How to get to the Wat Rong Khun

The most convenient way to get there is by private air-conditioned taxi. The journey from the city takes about 20 minutes, and the fare ranges from 250 to 300 baht. Most hotels in Chiang Rai can book one. The White Temple is relatively easy to get to by public transport. Buses depart from the old bus station near the Night Bazaar in Chiang Rai city center. The journey takes about 30 minutes, and the fare is 20 baht each way.

Temple Architecture

Its design can be eclectic, as its creator deliberately combined elements from different styles and eras, including traditional Thai and Hindi architecture and ornate decorations for the facades. And exterior elements. The temple’s architecture gives a surreal feel and creates a dramatic atmosphere to enhance the visitor’s spiritual experience. At the entrance to the temple, there is a pond and a narrow white bridge leading to the main building. It is a very ornate structure with many religious images.

Two statues of Kinnara guards it, the half-human, half-bird creatures of Thai mythology believed to protect humans. The temple’s main building is a simple concrete structure with a wooden roof. The exteriors were covered with white plaster with glass inserts. Glass was used as a symbol of the wisdom of the Buddha, and the white color represents the purity of the deity. The ceiling and walls have many ornaments and decorations and traditional Thai architectural elements, such as the three-tiered ceiling and the stylized snakes around the edges.

There is only one building in the complex that is not white, and that is where the toilets are located. It was given a golden color as a criticism of people’s general obsession with money and wealth.

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