Similar to the serene face of Buddha is the Buddhist temple of Wat Rong Khun in Thailand. Situated 13 kilometres in the south of Chang Rai, Thailand it is the “white temple” to the foreign visitors. The temple, which started in the year 1996, is a wonderful mix of both traditional Thai culture and modern science fiction. It is the product of the imagination of the famous Thai architect and painter Chalermchai Kositpipat.
As the temple is still in progress, the architect has dedicated his life to make the sculpted dream as perfect as possible. He believed that it is going to take about 70 years to get completed in totality and therefore passed his artistic notions on to the 60 helpers working on the project before breathing his last.
The total temple plan of the Wat Rong Khun Temple includes 9 buildings which cover an area of 3 acres. In these buildings are the chapel, the pagoda, the hermitage, crematorium, meditation venues like the monastery hall, and preaching hall, the museum, the pavilion, and lastly the resting areas. The main areas are covered with mirrors and contemporary bizarre objects all of which symbolise the malice and devastation of the current times. Every sculpture and design intricacy of the Wat Rong Khun temple points towards the teachings of Buddha. The white colour of the temple is the symbol for purity and the heads of the demons which are seen throughout the premises indicate towards the sins of desire.
Being a temple inspired from the contemporary happening of real and fictional lives comes the strangest part of the Wat Rong Khun temple where there are the images of the modern science fiction heroes like Batman, Superman, and the aliens of Predator all over the temple which try to re-instate the fact that Buddha exists in the modern times as well. It also depicts modern day icons such as Michael Jackson and the modern time devastations like the 9/11 Twin Tower disaster. Amidst the depictions of destructions there are the golden flowers which surround a calm Buddha and try to convey the message that meditation is a means to reach dharma and so one should try to follow the preaching of Buddha.
A large part of the foreign tourists visiting Thailand come to see the Wat Rong Khun Temple which appears like a porcelain piece when seen from a distance. The best means of reaching the temple is by taking a normal regular running bus from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai or Phayao and then getting down at the stop of Wat Rong Khun.