On a cloudy morning on the way back from Laos to Chiang Mai, Aurelien and I stopped at the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai (not to be confused with Chiang Mai). The White Temple is a contemporary Buddhist temple created by Ajarn Chalermchai Kosipipatin in 1997. Kosipipation studied all of the modern art masters (Monet, Van Gough, Picasso, etc) but he didn’t resonate with any of them, he wanted to create his own style and I think he has achieved this. He also wanted Thai Bhuddisht arts to be recognized internationally and have this piece of art be a touist destination like the Taj Mahal or Ankor Wat. Along with 80 other artists Kosipipation set to work on the White Temple, a project that is still in the works and is planned to be even after his death.
If you are confused why the gold temple in the above picture isn’t white, that is because it’s the bathroom. Yup, that isn’t the temple, it’s just the plain old loo. Haha, tricked you!
Okay, on to the White Temple!
As you get closer to the actual temple, the demons/hands/representations of hell and suffering go away and you are left with an ornate temple. Inside the temple is a beautiful gold statue of Buddha with two paintings of him ascending on the wall behind him. On the other side of the wall, facing Buddha, is a contemporary mural of modern day “demons”.
Everything surrounding the grounds was carefully thought out as well, including the no smoking signs, heads hanging from trees and decorations on fence posts. They also had a wishing tree that I contributed to.
Coming up, a post on why we were in Laos and a Thai cooking class!