One of the most breathtaking sites in Thailand
I had seen pictures and videos of the Sanctuary of Truth (ปราสาทสัจธรรม) before visiting Thailand, but nothing can really prepare you for how amazing this place is to see in person.
When @faitherz33 and I got to Pattaya, I knew we had to make it out to visit this temple since we were so close to it, so we scheduled rides and paid for our admission in advance. I don't remember the exact cost, but I think with the roundtrip pickup in a van and admission, it was around 700 baht each. It was well worth the price for the experience.
When you first get there, you have to wait at an overlook area for your tour time to begin. This gives you a chance get some ice cream or get a bite to eat at the restaurant. It is also a really good area to get some pretty nice landscape shots of the temple with the sea in the background because when you get up close, unless you have a very wide lens, it is hard to get the whole temple in the frame.
Journey to the Temple
When the tour begins, you are led down a set of stairs and make your way through a lush jungle setting. There are a few horses along the way that you are able to "rent" for a nice horseback ride around the temple grounds.
You can also talk to people about getting a speed boat to take you out in the sea to get some really nice shots if you wanted to spend the money on that. For a few hundred baht you can have a nice relaxing paddle around a fish pond in a canoe and drink a complimentary coconut while you are in the boat. We opted to continue along the trail towards the temple because we only had a few hours until our van was returning.
I am not sure why there were a few goats tied up, but my only guess was that they were there for children to pet or something since they are too small for me to ride around.
Faith and I got pretty excited when we saw the elephants. That was until we got up close and saw the extremely short chains on their legs. We had no intention to ride them around, but we just wanted to be close to these majestic animals.
We bought a few bags of bananas they were selling so that we could feed the elephant. We never did make it to the elephant sanctuary while we were in Thailand because the times we were trying to go were already booked, so this was going to be our only chance to feed elephants while we were in Thailand.
It is crazy how strong these animals are. One of them whacked me with its trunk when I was feeding it and it almost knocked me over.
I wish we could have stayed and spent some more time hanging out with the elephants and continue to feed them and keep them from being ridden, but we needed to start making our way down to the temple.
Outside the Temple
When you get up close to the structure, it is hard to believe that the whole thing is made completely out of wood because it is pretty big. Another crazy thing about the construction is that there are no nails of any kind used. Instead, they used tongue and groove (wedge) techniques, butt joint, dovetails, and sapped spurs to connect all of the pieces of the structure and hold it all together.
It's pretty incredible when you think about that and think about how much planning and forethought must go into creating something of this magnitude.
Before you make your way down to the temple grounds, you are given a hard hat to wear and you cannot enter inside without wearing the hard hat because the temple is still under construction and has been since 1981.
Woodcarvers and artists have carved each of the pieces of the temple by hand over the years and are still adding to the structure and making improvements.
The amount of detail is amazing. It is incredible to think about how much time has gone into each piece of this building.
Even the stairs have an incredible amount of detail in them. The whole entry is amazing.
You can tell some of the wood is very old and weathered compared to the other wood.
The Amazing Inside
Once you step inside, everything has even more detail than before. When you walk in, you are greeted by the The Central Hall, Great Throne and Liberation.
The woodcarving door facades at 4 directions symbolize the entrance to the universe or Aryasatyani or the 4 Noble Truths, the main teachings of the Lord Buddha. The great throne symbolizes emptiness of the universe or Nirvana, the center of the universe and genuine truth from the beginning to the end of the world. source
Even inside, the construction and carving continues.
As you walk through the temple, the different halls tell the story of the creation of the earth, lead you through the path of social and spiritual development, guide you through the solar system and the influence the planets have on human life, and teach about the love of our mothers and fathers.
It is a pretty amazing experience to go through, and I wish that I had more time and didn't have my camera with me and I could just soak it all in without any distractions of taking pictures.
So much detail everywhere.
This is the North Hall. It is for Social and Spiritual Development.
The sculptures depict the beliefs of Taoism and Confucianism, reflecting supreme morality of Bhodisatta in the Mahayana Buddhism. Though humans differ at birth, if they do good, they can be liberated from vices, greed and passion. They have to learn how to share and love one another. Humans can be liberated from bad omens if they make merits and do good. That is the philosophy of Mahayana Buddhism – the great vehicle that will lead people to Nirvana. source
They had one whole section roped off for construction. It was cool to see people working inside as well. So much love and dedication goes into this place every day.
I thought these monkeys fighting over the banana was pretty funny.
This is the Eastern Hall of the Mother and Father (gratitude)
The sculpture of Father and Mother, who give birth to us out of love and care. The love of our father and mother is so great and sincere without expectation of anything in return and that love is greater than the sky and oceans. It reflects human bond and spiritual miracles. Children can learn from that great love and be grateful to them in return. Humans then differ from other creatures on earth. source
Outside of the temple, under a tarp, massive pieces of wood are being brought in and sculptures are being started.
It is pretty cool to see the beginnings of these amazing sculptures.
If you are ever in Thailand, I would highly recommend that you take the time to plan a visit to the Sanctuary of Truth. This is definetly a must see and a place that must be experienced. There is a sense of peace as you walk through the temple that is hard to explain.
Thank you for stopping by and checking out my post and looking at my pictures. I hope that you enjoyed them. You are awesome!