On the outskirts of Chiang Rai in north Thailand is an outstanding and unconventional buddhist and Hindu temple called Wat Rong Khun or the White Temple. The temple was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat and construction began in 1997. Wat Rong Khun is different from any other temple in Thailand, as its ubosot (consecrated assembly hall) is designed in white color with some use of white glass. The white color stands for Lord Buddha’s purity; the white glass stands for Lord Buddha’s wisdom that “shines brightly all over the Earth and the Universe.” The bridge leading to the temple represents the crossing over from the cycle of rebirth to the Abode of Buddha. The small semicircle before the bridge stands for the human world. The big circle with fangs is the mouth of Rahu, meaning impurities in the mind, a representation of hell or suffering.
The Best Toilet in the World
On the left of the temple’s compound is a golden toilet which Chalermchai seems to also use to transfer some hidden message to visitors. It is as though he is saying, “I want this golden toilet to be a symbol of the human response to imagery.” Perhaps the message is also that there is beauty in all things, which impresses people by its beauty rather than the fact that it is just a toilet.