Tag Archives: temple
(Also known as “The most bad-ass ‘donations please’ advertisement ever conceived” – io9)
Halfway between the hippie-mainstay Pondicherry and proto-Jonestown Auroville lies this incredible 15-foot-tall Indian shrine of some awful crime in progress.
Okay, okay, I’ve been dwelling on the dark side of Taoism for too long. Sure, 19 Incredible Taoist Gods was an awesome series of sweet court officer pix, and Terrible Moments from a Taoist Temple was a collection of terrifying dioramas, but what about the lighter, cuter side of the religion? Is there one? OF COURSE!
An insane Thai artist, who resides somewhere between Henry Darger and Moebius the Frenchman, realized he needed to return to his hometown, Chiang Rai, and build a temple. Not just any Wat — it had to be something bigger, something bolder, something more… white. It was to be the most renowned tribute to the Buddha, yet. It was to deliver him students and followers, and scores- nay, millions- of tourists a year. It was to put Chiang Rai back on the map.
And it did.
Bouncing along dirt roads in a tuktuk, sucking in truck exhaust, I cursed Sasha and Tina. “What’s another Wat,” I kept asking — I’d seen thirty, forty, maybe even a hundred, so far. I was sick of Wats. And here I was, twenty five minutes away from my guesthouse, and the bus to Chiang Khong, just to see another.
Then, far down the road, something white appeared. Wat Rong Khun (วัดร่องขุ่น) was glistening. It was literally brilliant. Closer, it appeared to be a palace made of Ice — something from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Pollution and open sewers aside, this was breathtaking.
Out near the zoo, hidden in a dusty residential neighborhood, miles from the nearest high street, is a Chiang Mai forest. In the middle of that forest, lies this piece of majesty: Wat Umong.
The koans, which you’ll find nailed to trees at random, read like a stocking-stuffer self-help book. But they’re great.