Monasteries, Sanctuaries and Temples of Thailand
Temples of Thailand are the main man-made attractions of the kingdom. It is visiting temple complexes that gives you the opportunity to get closer to the peculiarities of local culture, architecture, learn the history and understand the mentality of the inhabitants of the "land of smiles".
There are many temples in Thailand: Buddhist, Chinese, Indian, Muslim mosques, Christian and Orthodox. Thailand is also referred to as "the country of a thousand temples," although today there are many more.
The most famous temples in Thailand are mainly combined into temple complexes, which may be a school, crematorium, the dwelling of the monks, the library, above which may be built mondop - the repository of sacred writings, as well as schools of Thai massage.
- Stupa (chedi or pagoda) - The temple is an indispensable structure of the complex. It contains Buddhist relics, most often belonging to the Buddha, but the remains of saints may also be buried there.
- Ubosot - The main building of the complex is where the monks usually conduct a variety of rites and ceremonies. The ubosot is rarely open to outsiders.
- Viharn - The building is located to the east of the pagoda. It is always open for parishioners to perform their services and for tourists to learn about religion, culture and traditions.
The temple complexes are located on vast plots of land arranged by master landscapers, with many statues of Buddha and various mythical creatures.
Every Thai village, even the smallest, has its own temple. The life of every Thai, from birth to his last days, is closely connected with the name of Buddha, traditions and temple rituals. In addition, Buddhism is the state religion of Thailand. There is no more honorable mission for a Thai than to build a new temple for his Guru Buddha. This explains the huge number of wats located throughout the kingdom. Some of them are functioning monasteries, but certain of their areas may also be open to visitors.
It should be noted that the most ancient temple buildings you can visit in Bangkok, Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai.
The most famous temples
The most famous and most visited temple in the country is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, located on the grounds of the Great Royal Palace. Wat Phra Kaew was built in 1782 to house a statue of the jade Buddha, whose origins are steeped in many legends. The temple is under the patronage of the royal family. Many private ceremonies are held here. The king personally changes the statue into various seasonal garments made of gold three times a year.
The Lying Buddha Temple is also located near the Great Royal Palace. Its main feature is a 46-meter gold-plated statue of the deity lying in wait for Nirvana. The monumental statue attracts huge streams of tourists. Most of the buildings Wat Pho dates back to the 16th century - it is the oldest monastery in the capital.
The white temple in Chiang Rai City is striking in its beauty, lightness and airiness. The completely white temple seems to be built of ice and snow, sparkling and shimmering in the sun with many pieces of mirrors. All the buildings are made in the same style. It is a modern temple, its construction is still underway and is being funded solely by one man - the local artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. Wat Rong Khun is considered a trademark of northern Thailand.
The Temple of Truth in Pattaya is better known as a wooden temple. It is really made of wood, and the most skilled wood carvers were involved in its construction. Its height - 105 meters, it is a three-tiered modern construction, symbolizing life on earth, Nirvana and Paradise. Construction, which began in 1981, is actively continuing to this day. That's why you will definitely be given a white helmet at the entrance. All the ornate decorations of the temple and many sculptures are also made of wood.
Thirty kilometers from Pattaya is the Temple of Hell and Paradise. A walk through the vast area of the wat is impressive for tourists. In the hell territory you will see many sculptures depicting the punishments that await sinners for various types of crimes committed in life. And the territory of heaven is the temple buildings themselves.
While in Krabi, it is worth visiting the so-called Tiger Temple. There is a statue of Buddha on a hill, you have to climb a staircase of 1,237 steps to get to it.
The ancient temple, Wat Mahathat, is located in the ancient capital of Thailand, Ayutthaya. The temple is located in the ancient capital of Thailand, Ayutthaya, and is particularly attractive to tourists because of its unusual composition: the stone head of the Buddha is braided with many roots.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet is one of the largest temples in the capital Ayutthaya. The Wat is already more of a historical value, as many of the buildings have collapsed. The three monumental stupas standing next to each other are of great interest. They are the best preserved and have now been restored.
In Phuket, the most famous and most visited temple is Wat Chalong. Some of its buildings were built over 200 years ago, many of the buildings are modern. Wat Chalong is a functioning temple, there are constantly held services, it is always open to visitors. Especially on feast days, there are many Thais who come here with flowers, incense, and other offerings. On the temple grounds and inside the structures you will see many Buddha figures depicting Guru in various poses.
Samui is famous for its temple complex, Wat Khunaram, built in honor of the famous monk Loeng Pordaeng, famous for his holiness. His mummified body is kept here. It is dressed in saffron-colored robes, held in a lotus pose and housed in a glass cube.
Wat Chedi Luang is the oldest and most famous Wat of Chiang Mai. It is famous for its tall chedi (98 meters), which is 54 meters wide. For many years there was a statue of the Emerald Buddha, which has now been moved to the new capital of the kingdom.
The temple complex of Wat Yang is located on the outskirts of Pattaya and is under the patronage of the King of Thailand. In a large area you can visit religious buildings of different styles, representing Thai, Indian and Chinese cultures.
After walking 300 steps and climbing the hill, you can see the shrine - the footprint of the Buddha. There is also the famous Buddha Mountain on the grounds of the complex. On it gold tiles lined image of Buddha sitting in the traditional lotus pose. The image is 109 meters high and 70 meters wide.
Rules of conduct in temples
Buddhist temples in Thailand are open to all who wish to visit, the time of visit will be indicated at the entrance or in the flyer. Admission can be either paid (price ranges vary) or free.
It is only worth remembering and observing the basic rules of visiting such places:
- When going to the temple, take care to wear appropriate clothing that covers your shoulders, knees, and stomach. Some temples will allow you to take a shawl at the entrance. Some vats do not have this service, so you will have to buy appropriate clothing at small bazaars. There are temples where the dress code is more lenient.
- When you enter the temple, you have to leave your shoes over the threshold, so you should not come in expensive shoes.
- If this is your first time at the temple and you are not familiar with Buddhist rituals, but you want to take part in them, stand on the sidelines and watch the locals do it.
- As you sit on the floor, which is how Buddhists pray, note that your face must face the main statue of Buddha and the altar. Your feet should not be facing the Buddha or pointing at anyone else, but rather covered by your clothes.
- Remember also that you must not be taller than the Buddha statue, so you must not climb on it or take pictures with it.
- If you wish, you can make offerings in the temple: lotus flowers, light aromatic incense, attach gold leaf. All this can be purchased here-just watch the Buddhists do it.
- Some offerings may also be made to the monks (food, money), but remember that women are forbidden to speak or touch even a monk's clothing. These rules are related to the vow that the monks make.
- It is possible to ask the monks for a blessing. To do this, you must kneel down in front of the monk, bow your head respectfully, and traditionally fold your hands palms together. The monk will say a mantra, bless you, and tie a traditional string blessing around your wrist.
- You can also take part in any open ceremony or meditation that takes place in the temples.