It may look like something straight out of a dream world, but the Wat Rong Khun, or White Temple, is the real deal. Located in Thailand, it serves as a Buddhist temple and a popular place for locals and tourists to frequent. Where else can you see architecture this unique, detailed, and symbolic?
Chalermchai Kositpipat, a visual artist and designer, created the masterpiece back in 1997 as a little peace of heaven on earth. It took far more than one year to create the temple, in fact people worked for well over a decade to make the place just right. Details are found everywhere, including sculptures, painted walls and ceilings, and even bathrooms are adorned in signature style.
These photos of the heavenly looking temple are truly magnificent, with every last inch covered in pearly white perfection.
On May 5, 2014 the force of an earthquake in Mae Lao turned parts of the pearly temple into piles of ruble. Imaginably devastated by the destruction of the treasured temple he worked so hard to create, Kositpipat announced to the world on May 6 that he would not be rebuilding the iconic palace.
This did not sit well with the people of his hometown, they were up in arms and wanted more than anything for Kositpipat to restore the work of art. Thankfully, it didn’t take much convincing for Kositpitpat to change his mind, already the renovations are underway.
The temple was built by the millionaire designer completely out of his own pocket. He never asked for any Government supplements or public donations. He sees the temple as an offering to Buddha, as well as something for the people of his hometown, now and long into the future.
Pictured below, the vigilant guards at the gates of this bridge are there to banish any and all impure desires before you enter.
Inside and out there are many detailed works of art, taking artists years to craft. When much of the work was destroyed by the earthquake, Kositpipat admits he and his team of shed tears over the lost work. Just imagine, it took over 16 years to paint the artworks that adorn the walls and ceilings. Kositpipat calls these paintings, “…the heart of the temple.”
Some Buddhist visitors make offerings to the sea of outstretched hands as they cross the bridge. The hands are a representation of the cycle of death and rebirth.
Kositpipat wants all of the repairs to be exactly as the originals were. He doesn’t care how long it takes to ensure the work is completed just as perfectly now as it was before. The designer mentions that people from all over the world have video footage of the temple and he wants their footage to match the recreated temple exactly.
He realizes this is no easy task, and at 60-years old rebuilding the temple could take up the rest of his working life. He says his 70-year old friends that still have zest for their work give him the inspiration to take on the task.
Certain parts of the temple are still undergoing renovations due to earthquake damage and remain off limits. Once all of the proper structural repairs are complete the temple will once again reopen all doors. As of now, visiting the temple is still well worth it, as you can travel inside some of the buildings, as well as along the outsides of the magnificent structure.
The bridge pictured above leads to the main temple hall.
What a perfect Buddhist retreat. I’m feeling more zen just looking at these photos!