Sunday, December 8th 2019

Strange interior of the White temple in Chiang Rai

Wat Rong Khun or the White Temple of Chiang Rai is one of the main attraction of the Northern Thailand. Most probably many saw pictures of it. It is a completely white fairy tale looking temple. Wat Rong Khun is very different from any Buddhist temple I have seen before. It reminds me of fairy tales where castles are made of snow and ice. Coming from a country where we have real winters it is a bit strange to see this structure as if made of snow in warm climate of Thailand. You should definitely come and see it yourself.

Wat Rong Khun White temple 14

But the temples and statues of this Buddhist complex is not the only peculiar feature. When you see the main chapel from outside you don’t really anticipate what you will see inside and how it will surprise you. I am sure different people have different reactions. I personally thought it was some kind of a joke or mockery.

Wat Rong Khun White temple 10

When you enter the main central wall is adorned with statues of Buddhas and other Buddhist symbols. But the opposite wall will definitely make you raise your brows in surprise when you see burning twin towers, angry birds, Spiderman or characters from Star Wars.

White temple Chiang Rai 12

White temple Chiang Rai 12

Besides them you will Michael Jackson, Freddy Kruger, Terminator, Neo from Matrix, Transformers, characters from Avatar, Harry Poter, Elvis Presley and even Kungfu Panda. It is weird for a Buddhist temple, isn’t it?

White temple Chiang Rai 01

White temple Chiang Rai 02

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White temple Chiang Rai 09

White temple Chiang Rai 10

All this looks very unusual and even strange but that was the idea of the Thai Buddhist artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. His idea is to show the good and bad using images from the popular culture of the West and unfortunate events of 9/11. These unusual murals are placed opposite the Buddhas. I believe they are meant to show that people should clean themselves, their minds from bad intentions and wrong ideas, and that all the popular culture with violence, greed, hedonism is the wrong way in life. People should give up all these unnecessary and turn to the path of purification and enlightenment.

White temple Chiang Rai 11

 I agree that Freddy Kruger or Terminator are not positive characters, but what about Kungfu Panda or Batman? They seem to be good heroes and teach us lessons of fairness by helping and saving others. Probably the only way to learn what exactly the artist Chalermchai Kositpipat meant is to ask him himself.
For now we can see these strange images and make our decisions about what is the message behind them.

What do you think about it? What is the message?

Do you think they are just weird whims of the artist to stand out of the crowd or a skillful new approach to deliver the important message?

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29 Comments on “Strange interior of the White temple in Chiang Rai”

  1. more photos of photo-prohibited murals, well done farang kee nok!
    ugly disrespectful Westerner, STAY HOME

    1. Dear Alessandro, please explain to me what is so much prohibited in those murals – Kungfu Panda, Angry Birds, Batman or Spiderman? Why people should not see pictures of these murals? Are these sacred ancient Buddhist symbols?

  2. The artist has requested that photos not be taken of the murals. To take photos anyway, and publish them on the Internet, is total disrespect. Shame on you.

    1. Dear Angela, I probably should not have done that, but I still believe that the artist wanted to deliver his message. If entrance fee is not charged, I don’t really see what is wrong in posting pictures online? Why do the people who cannot visit be deprived of possibility to see what is inside the temple? Is there any official statement from the artist where he requests no photos of interiors?

  3. I agree with others we have been here and didn’t take photos as requested…you paid to enter and have a look not to take photo’s! Also if you had purchased his book in the shop for a small price you would have received some information and also photo’s. If you read into it more you may have realised that these things are distractions for him in the world which prevent him to finding full enlightenment and thats why they are there not because they are all negative sometimes you have to open your mind, although this vision may not make sense to you it did to him and his community which he taught to build, paint!

  4. […] nem lehetett fényképezni a helyszínen, a falfreskó képeit a oldalról másoltam […]

  5. […] Things get a little lighter further up the head as people begin to transcend their suffering. There are happy folks riding around on clouds, and a depiction of the Buddha is at the top. You aren’t allowed to take photos of this mural, but you can google “white temple interior images” and get an eyeful. One naughty blogger took these great pics. […]

  6. […] Wnętrze jest kompletnie oderwane od tego co było przed wejściem. Gładkie ściany pomalowane na ogniste, demoniczne kolory i  takie też kształty a do tego WTC, Superman, Hello Kitty, Angry Birds, telefony i inne współczesne elementy życia  kompletnie niepasujące do zamkowego wejścia pełnego alegorii. W środku robienie zdjęć zabronione, ale komuś innemu się udało > Wnętrze White Temple. […]

  7. […] I didn’t shoot any photos, but this person managed to obtain photos of some of the artwork to give you an idea. […]

  8. […] frappadingue inspiré par la pop culture. Car malgré l’aspect extérieur immaculé, voici les fresques qui orne ses murs internes ! (Apparemment il était en train de rajouter des Minions :-) […]

  9. […] L’intérieur fait preuve de plus de sobriété. Une gigantesque fresque représente les symboles habituels du bouddhisme ainsi que … Superman, Michael Jackson, un minion, Harry Potter, les angry birds, kung fu panda… Photos interdites mais vous pouvez avoir un aperçu sur ce site. […]

  10. […] Inside the temple, there’s a mural. But  we didn’t get the chance to sneak some shots because our tour guide was always with us.  I found a blog that managed to capture some photos of the mural, see here.  […]

  11. […] mural. Photos aren’t allowed in the building, but some people have managed to snap some HERE. There are lots of characters to spot from Harry Potter and Kung Fu Panda, to Michael Jackson and […]

  12. […] O ubosot incorpora elementos de design da arquitetura tailandesa clássica, como o telhado de três camadas e o uso abundante de serpentes. Dentro do templo, a decoração muda rapidamente de branco para psicodélico. Os murais retratam as chamas alaranjadas de roda e as caras do demônio, intercaladas com os ídolos ocidentais tais como Michael Jackson, Neo da matriz, Freddy Kruger, e um terminal da série T-800 A presença de Harry Potter, Superman, Hello Kitty, Kung Fu Panda… Lembrando que NÃO PODE FOTOGRAFAR LÁ DENTRO. Foto divulgação: Travel Photo […]

  13. […] and solid white color scheme give way to an odd, modern art mural (see this blogger’s images of the interior for an idea). Placed in the center of the far side of the temple is a lifelike recreation of the […]

  14. […] а для интересующихся еще фото можно посмотреть тут и тут (сайты на английском, но картинки […]

  15. […] The photo above is from travel photo report. They’ve taken some sneaky pics inside the temple – you can see more here. […]

  16. […] peint par l’artiste, toujours avec ce coté décalé. En voici quelques extraits sur ce site, les photos étant […]

  17. […] E dentro si resta a bocca aperta. Le pareti sono ricoperte di dipinti, di scene che raccontano tante cose della nostra vita terrena e della società in cui viviamo: non si sa bene dove guardare, tanti sono i messaggi che l’artista ha dipinto. Qui la simbologia si distacca dalle scene classiche. Le immagini sotto sono un piccolo esempio di cosa si trova sulle pareti (un bell’assortimento lo trovate qui) […]

  18. […] Drugim powodem naszej wizyty w Chiang Rai była Biała Świątynia – Wat Rong Khun. Budynek współczesny, będący zarówno miejscem sakralnym, jak i wystawą sztuki.  Twórcą tego miejsca jest już inny tajski twórca – pan Chalermchai Kositpipat i radzę go pogooglać, bo to co robi to jest niezła jazda. Niestety nie można robić zdjęć wewnątrz świątyni, chociaż widziałam w sieci, że komuś się udało. […]

  19. […] is doing gives your brain a ride. It is not allowed to make photos inside the temple although I saw someone break this […]

  20. […] Temppelin sisällä ei saanut valokuvata lainkaan mutta tästä pääset katsomaan sieltä otettuja valokuvia (kaikki eivät kieltoja noudata), niin […]

  21. […] After that night’s sleep, we went to the White Temple— often considered the antithesis to the Black House. The entire sculpture (I hesitate to call it a temple because it is so unique) is absolutely incredible. I always appreciated pictures of it, but there are plenty of elements that are simply not captured in photographs. For example, the entire sculpture is lined in square pieces of mirror. It is also surrounded by beautiful golden bathrooms that nearly rival the temple in terms of breathtaking architecture. Even inside, there are murals that are surprisingly modern and feature everything from Kung Fu Panda and Michael Jackson to…. […]

  22. […] artwork was quite amazing, and I am sure the symbolism of it all went straight over my head. This blogger has some photos of the interior if you are […]

  23. […] Note: Photos are not allowed inside the White Temple but you can see the artwork at this website : travel photo report […]

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