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The White Temple in Thailand Is an Ode to Spirituality and Modern Art

by Matador Creators Jan 20, 2023

The White Temple (also known as Wat Rong Khun) is an iconic landmark in the city of Chiang Rai, Thailand. It’s a Buddhist temple built from white concrete and decorated with pieces of mirrored glass, and it’s one of the most recognizable and eye-catching temples in Asia.

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As opposed to many temples in Thailand, which date back centuries, the White Temple was built relatively recently. It was designed by Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat and completed in 1997. The temple features a unique blend of traditional Buddhist iconography with modern elements such as broken glass, shards of mirror, and even murals featuring characters from popular movies such as Superman and Spiderman. Despite its modern construction, Wat Rong Khun still follows traditional Buddhist principles, symbolizing purity through its white color and representing heaven on earth through its ornate design.

The main building, known as Ubosot Hall, contains images of Buddha as well as statues that represent various aspects of Buddhism such as enlightenment and reincarnation. There are also several smaller buildings located around the main hall which house more statues and sculptures. Together, these features create a truly unique experience for visitors to the temple.

Beyond its physical beauty, there are also spiritual aspects to consider when visiting this temple. Visitors should take time to appreciate the symbolism behind each element of the temple’s design—from the intricate carvings to the statues that line its walls—as they explore. As would be expected at any spiritual site, there are rules to follow to ensure you’re being respectful. Make sure to remove your shoes before entering the temple, and that your shoulders and knees are covered (for all genders). If you arrive without the proper clothing, don’t worry — you’ll find vendors outside the temples ready to supply you with scarves and other clothes to help cover up.

The White Temple can be quite busy at times so it’s best to plan your visit ahead of time if you want to avoid long lines or crowds.Since November-February is considered the high season, March through June can make for an ideal time to visit, as temperatures tend to be milder but still warm enough for sightseeing. Rainfall increases during this period but tends not to last long. Many people opt for a trip during April or May when there are fewer crowds and prices tend to be lower than they are in peak season.

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