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The Sagrada Familia of Thailand - White Temple

The White Temple is a contemporary, unconventional, privately-owned art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai Province; it is owned by Chalermchai Kositpipat, who designed, constructed, and opened it to visitors in 1997

The White Temple is a contemporary, unconventional, privately-owned art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai Province; it is owned by Chalermchai Kositpipat, who designed, constructed, and opened it to visitors in 1997

All the exteriors were covered in white plaster with glass inserts; the glass was used as a symbol of the wisdom of Buddha, and the white color represents the purity of the deity

All the exteriors were covered in white plaster with glass inserts; the glass was used as a symbol of the wisdom of Buddha, and the white color represents the purity of the deity

This wishing well is like a carnival game since visitors are told that their wish will only come true if their coin lands in the top tray; when a coin misses (which most do), they just toss in more coins

This wishing well is like a carnival game since visitors are told that their wish will only come true if their coin lands in the top tray; when a coin misses (which most do), they just toss in more coins

The temple, like all of the others I've visited, does a fantastic job of raising money; the ceiling of this walkway is made up of metal hearts each of which cost $1 and donors could write their name or a message on it

The temple, like all of the others I've visited, does a fantastic job of raising money; the ceiling of this walkway is made up of metal hearts each of which cost $1 and donors could write their name or a message on it

In front of the bridge to the main temple are hundreds of outreaching hands that symbolize unrestrained desire; the bridge proclaims that the way to happiness is by foregoing temptation, greed, and desire

In front of the bridge to the main temple are hundreds of outreaching hands that symbolize unrestrained desire; the bridge proclaims that the way to happiness is by foregoing temptation, greed, and desire

I didn't know who many of the modern characters were but there were plenty of superheroes; the temple is only 13 kms south of Chiang Rai

I didn't know who many of the modern characters were but there were plenty of superheroes; the temple is only 13 kms south of Chiang Rai

This particular temple houses a gift shop and a small museum showing works by the artist; most of our tour group thought the temple was sacrilegious but our tour guide said people just view it as art

This particular temple houses a gift shop and a small museum showing works by the artist; most of our tour group thought the temple was sacrilegious but our tour guide said people just view it as art

The golden building contains the restrooms and represents the body; the gold symbolizes how people focus on worldly desires and money

The golden building contains the restrooms and represents the body; the gold symbolizes how people focus on worldly desires and money

Admission to the temple is $1.50 for foreigners but is free to Thai residents; the area adjacent to the temple will be a center of learning and meditation for people to gain benefit from the Buddhist teachings

Admission to the temple is $1.50 for foreigners but is free to Thai residents; the area adjacent to the temple will be a center of learning and meditation for people to gain benefit from the Buddhist teachings

Inside the main temple, the decor shifts from pristine white to fiery and bewildering; murals depict swirling orange flames and demon faces, interspersed with Western idols such as Michael Jackson, Freddy Krueger, and a T-800 series Terminator

Inside the main temple, the decor shifts from pristine white to fiery and bewildering; murals depict swirling orange flames and demon faces, interspersed with Western idols such as Michael Jackson, Freddy Krueger, and a T-800 series Terminator

I just loved this traffic/construction cone!; our visit to the temple was brief but a much needed break on the long drive from Chiang Mai to the Laos border

I just loved this traffic/construction cone!; our visit to the temple was brief but a much needed break on the long drive from Chiang Mai to the Laos border

Another cool way to get people to make donations; this tree is made up of metal hearts which people have bought for $1 each

Another cool way to get people to make donations; this tree is made up of metal hearts which people have bought for $1 each

The temple was damaged by an earthquake on May 5, 2014; the buildings were found to be structurally unharmed but they required significant cosmetic work

The temple was damaged by an earthquake on May 5, 2014; the buildings were found to be structurally unharmed but they required significant cosmetic work

Every detail carries meaning; the bridge is the cycle of rebirth and the Gate of Heaven encourages visitors to reflect on Buddhist teachings that show the way to escape from the worldly temptations and focus on the mind instead

Every detail carries meaning; the bridge is the cycle of rebirth and the Gate of Heaven encourages visitors to reflect on Buddhist teachings that show the way to escape from the worldly temptations and focus on the mind instead

All of the trees had these creepy skulls hanging from them; they supposedly represent real people (living or dead) but the significance was never explained to us

All of the trees had these creepy skulls hanging from them; they supposedly represent real people (living or dead) but the significance was never explained to us

The artist considers the temple to be an offering to Lord Buddha and believes the project will give him immortal life; today the works are ongoing, but are not expected to be completed until 2070

The artist considers the temple to be an offering to Lord Buddha and believes the project will give him immortal life; today the works are ongoing, but are not expected to be completed until 2070

Posted by VagabondCowboy 14:01

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