The White Temple
Many people know Wat Rong Khun only as the White Temple. You can find this amazing piece of architecture in Chiang Rai. You will find the city of Chiang Rai in the north part of Thailand. Local artist Chalermchai Kositpipat is responsible for this piece of art and renovated the remains of the old Wat Rong Khun. The entire renovation is funded by the artist himself. Investors he does not need. He does however accept donations, but these are not to be higher than THB 10,000.
The temple has its doors open since 1997 but is far from being finished. According to Mr. Kositpipat’s students, the temple should be finished by the end of 2070. By the time the temple is finished, the compound should consist of nine buildings, which includes the Golden Building.
The temple is hard to overlook when driving from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. The white color and pieces of glass used to build the temple sparkle in the sunlight. The color white represents the purity of the Buddha. The pieces of glass used in the plaster represents the wisdom of Buddha.
The temple stands out in many ways. As for starters, the Wat is privately owned. When wandering around, you cannot stop noticing the eerie details. The temple is littered with fabled beings. The sculptures are created with so much details, that it can take up an entire morning or afternoon to take them all in. Heaven and hell are depicted closely to each other and an alien sits casually on a bench observing the temple’s grounds.
When we cross over the bridge to reach the “Gate of Heaven”, we walk over a lake. The lake is filled with outreaching hands. It symbolizes the unrestrained desire. The bridge itself represents the cycle of life: Life, Death and Rebirth. We enter the principal building, known as the Ubosot. This building represents the mind. Inside this spectacular building a scene of imagination unfolds.
I saw Michael Jackson
Avatar, Elvis Presley, Kung Fu Panda and Michael Jackson all fill up the inner walls of the building. Neo of the Matrix is flying by and Spiderman is doing his thing. It may all not relate to Buddhism, but the artist uses the images to connect the younger generation to idols and heroes they can relate to. While Michael Jackson moonwalks himself out of the building, superman is trying to keep it all together. The imagination speaks for itself, on the inside and the outside.
Besides the all white exterior, there is one more building that stands out, because it is completely golden. It is actually the rest room building, which makes it one of the most exclusive number one’s or two’s you will ever take. The building represents the human body. The gold is a symbol that the artist uses to highlight how materialistic people have become.