One of the highlights of our first day in Chiang Rai is Wat Rong Khun. Also known as the White Temple, it’s a stunning vision in white, so unlike most temples you’ll find in Thailand. Wat Rong Khun is a truly magical place, one you must see whenever you visit Chiang Rai.
Wat Rong Khun: A center of Buddhist art and learning
As I mentioned in the previous episode, Wat Rong Khun is an unorthodox temple. In a country known for its golden temples, this one stands out because of its intricate, all-white design. The whiteness is only enhanced further by the details picked out in mirrored glass. However, there is a gold building within the temple complex. The main building, colored white, is meant to symbolize the mind. The gold one, on the other hand, is supposed to represent the physical body.
What I love most about the White Temple is it’s heavy on symbolism. The layout of the structures is a representation of the path between heaven and hell. The attention to detail given to every inch of the design is amazing. The temple complex has grown over the years and just keeps growing, with new structures continuously being built.
Wat Rong Khun is the brainchild of Ajarn Chalermchai Kositpipat, Thailand’s National Artist. Everything in this temple complex sprang from his vision, and he started building it using his own funding.
Hanging out with the Kositpipats
We had the great fortune of bumping into Ajarn Chalermchai himself on our visit to the White Temple. He was wandering about the place incognito. But our eagle eyes caught him, and we had a short chat about the Nikky Feeding Souls mission.
As luck would have it, we also got to spend time with Ajarn Chalermchai’s son, Naphat Kositpipat. Known in some circles as Tan, Naphat is an up-and-coming artist in his own right. At the time of our visit, he was just coming down from the success of his first art exhibit.
According to Naphat, he got into art as a way of rediscovering himself after leaving the army. He said he wanted to do something more challenging to work on than the usual 9-to-5 job. While Ajarn Chalermchai was supportive, at the same time he wasn’t so sure about his son’s commitment to art. Nonetheless, he gave Naphat time to study art and decide whether it is something he really wished to pursue.
With the success of his first exhibit, Naphat was able to convince his father of his commitment and gained his full support. Naphat said he wants to improve his skills as an artist. He keeps himself busy in this pursuit, along with his travels.
You can watch the episode here: https://bit.ly/NFSSeason2Ep16