I had heard Navy stories about people stopping at the Sanctuary of Truth, a temple made only of wood (not even the nails are medal, they’re toggles) and I had set this place in my sites before those stories were finished. I really wanted to see this temple! So, right after I got my Sak Yant Tattoo I was off to Pattaya for the next couple of days. I was staying at the Residence Inn and Suites Pattaya and as soon as I got there I saw a sign up table for different tours. I didn’t want to go on any tours but it was only about 500BAHT (12$) for the ride there and the entrance ticket. I didn’t think that was a bad deal so I signed up. The next day when they came to pick me up, I was the only one going so it was more of a “I had my own chauffeur” sort of deal.
It took only about 20 minutes to get there and as soon as I arrived there were people to send me in the right direction. In fact, there was barely anyone there at all. I feel like this temple is a bit off the beaten path. The only other types of people who I saw were Russians and as you can see in most of the pictures there wasn’t barely anyone in any of the rooms.
A bit of a small background: Construction for the Sanctuary of Truth began in 1981 and even though it looks pretty complete they estimate another 20 years till completion! There’s approximately 370 wood carvers from Burma that are working on this project. The Sanctuary is privately owned and has a religious theme based on 4 beliefs: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Croatia. When I arrived an English-speaking tour guide was part of the tour so how could I refuse. My tour guide was from Burma and he immediately started calling me Ms. Lonely because I was all by myself and then later Taylor Swift. He made me laugh the whole time with his eccentric story telling and fountain of information so I couldn’t complain. He currently has an internship at the Sanctuary of Truth but he is in the process of getting his civil engineering degree.
First I rode an elephant around the entire perimeter, which was only a few minutes long, and then I headed inside to see the four wings of the building. Come along for the journey.
As best as I could get from the outside. Just looking at this picture, you can see how much detail and carvings there are, just on the outside. The inside architecture is in full swing so in a couple of years they will have made good progress.
Just as you come around the left side of the building. The entire time I was looking at everything I couldn’t seem to keep my eyes fixated to one area.
Overall picture I was able to get in the front of the building. Just BEAUTIFUL.
This guy was kind enough to give me a slow ride around the perimeter so I could leisurely scour the temple with my untrained eye. Ha!
Sculptures on the outside of the building. Everything here has some sort of religious connotation for the 4 religions listed above. I was flooded with information from my guide.
There were a group of kids on a school tour. If only I had something like this to go see when I was younger. One of my most exciting field trips was when I got to go to the cool mines in the 4th grade.
As you can see this area of the building is under construction. The two women that are darker and patchy are just leaning against the building and not fixed to it yet.
As you walk inside, you’ll see that there are 4 wings to the temple. Each wing represents the four religions. The first wing we went to see was Hinduism. There were 4 sculptures on the wall to represent creation and destruction based on the four elements fire, wind, water, and Earth.
The second wing we went to, had seven statues one representing each day of the week and which planet you were with the sun and the moon. You look at what day you were born on and you will see which planet you are. I was born on a Sunday and so I was the sun. Below you’ll see that the sun represents honor and social status. The honor part I’ve got, but I’m not so sure about the social status. haha.
As you can see there are sculptures from top to bottom in certain wings. The Croatian wing has barely been touched yet so there is nothing on the walls and the pillars are still bare. Each pillar in the Chinese wing are octagonal because the number 8 is lucky in China.
They treat the outside wood with chemicals to protect the temple from sea spray and other elements but even though they treat the wood they still have a pretty big problem with termites. This leads me to believe that this temple will continue to be a work in progress, because there’s already some areas that need replaced due to termite infestation. NEVERENDING…
The final wing holds the father, mother, son and daughter to represent all of the religions. These sculptures also represent the basics, learning to talk, walk, sleep, and eat. In the upper left and right corners you will see pictures of the owners of the Sanctuary of truth, they are husband and wife.
They say if you want to influence whether you have a boy or a girl then you either rub the mothers knee for a girl, or the father’s knee for a boy. I did neither because I feel like that’s something that should always be left up to chance.
This picture was taken from one of the wings.
In the center of the temple is the Buddhism shrine. On the ceiling above is a that represents Nirvana and everlasting life. My guide told me that the center column is completely empty to represent how we are when we are born. We have no emotions because we have not begun to live just yet and therefore if we are devoid of emotions, wants, and needs, we have no suffering.
I liked the way the darker light made the sculptures look like shadows on the side of the building.
Right next to the temple, (a few feet literally), is the carving site where the rest of the carvings are being made that are then transported over and placed onto the temple.
The carvers were hard at work, perfecting statues to be sent over to the temple and then placed on the walls, floors, ceilings, pretty much anywhere there’s a bare spot.
Afterwards we walked down to the restaurant and saw some traditional Thai dancing.
As soon as the performance was over, my chauffeur picked me up and we were heading back in a jiffy. What a glorious afternoon!
This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.
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