ilbonito blog 2007

The White Temple, dreamt up by local monks in the 1980s, glitters Taj Mahal-like against the blue Chiang Rai skies, attracting admiring flocks of tourists in their thousands. It is not hard to see why. The arresting exterior, encrusted with mirrored glass, is spectacular enough but inside the temple has more surprises – surrealist murals of animated superheroes – Batman, Superman, Astroboy and Doraemon, plus Converse shoes, dying hospital patients, Keanu from the Matrix and the Twin Towers burning, amid more traditional Buddhist motifs of lotus blossoms, souls transcending to Heaven and Buddhist demons Mara and Rahu, by artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. Irritatingly though, photography inside is banned ( hence the “borrowed” pictures below).

The temple is entered over a pit of outstretched hands representing the souls of the damned, before visitors ascend through a giant pair of glittering tusks to the main chapel. Giant koi carp swim about in the…

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