It's no wonder then that wats, chedis and shrines occupied a lot of attention during the month we spent exploring Thailand.
Strictly speaking, the term "wat" signifies a buddhist religious precinct containing monk's quarters (formally at least three monks must be in residence for it to be considered a wat), a place for meeting and religious instruction and a formal house of worship. Additional structures commonally include chedis and stupas which are memorial structures. Chedis will always contain religious relics. Religious libraries, ordination halls, sites for mediation and a virharn (meeting and prayer room) may also round out the complement of buildings contained within a formal wat and there may be multiples of all of these structures as well as other buildings.
|Pra Maha Chedi at Wat Roi Et|
Here are a selection of photos of just some of the wats we visited during our travels
|The Loha Prasat is distinguished by concentric square tiers |
capped with metal spires, creating a tower structure. Only 3
have ever been built and this is the only one left in the world.
|View atop the Loha Prasat of Wat Ratchanadda|
|The grounds of Bangkok's Grand Place contains several |
wats and chedis. One is home to the famous Emerald Buddha.
|We traveled by water taxi to visit Wat Arunratchawaran in Bangkok|
It is more commonly known as Wat Chaeng.
|The detailed mosasics adorning this structure are amazing |
and include Chinese porcelain as well as glass pieces.
|This prang (spire) is over 70 meters high|
|steps leading up Bangkok's Golden Mount|
|Still more to climb to reach the temple at the top|
|view of Bangkok atop the Golden Mount|
|One of the shrines inside|
|306 steps go up to Wat Prathat on Doi Suthep|
A tram is available...you pay if you're a tourist
but the ride is free if you're Thai.
|The view of Chiang Mai from Doi Suthep|
|One of several shrines at Wat Prathat.|
| A white elephant carrying a Buddha relic |
is said to have laid down and died at this spot
and a chedi was built to house the relic.
|Beautiful teak wood is the primary material for this wat.|
|Inside the temple.|
|At one time, a large moat surrounded this chedi.|
|The guardian elephants have disappeared from all but one|
side of the chedi.
|A temple on the grounds of Wat Pra Singh|
|Many wats will display very realistic wax figures of revered|
deceased monks. One we visited even had mummified remains.
|The breathtaking White Temple near Chiang Rai|
|To enter the main temple you have to cross this pit of tortured souls|
|Artwork and statuary both exterior |
and interior is beautifully crafted.
|A view of the main temple from the adjacent grounds of the wat|