The greatest outdoor collection of Buddhist artefacts, statues and temples in Thailand are to be found at the SukhothaiHistoricalPark which covers the ruins of Sukhothai, capital of the Sukhothai kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries in Northern Thailand.
The city walls form a rectangle about 2 km EW by 1.6 km NS – inside are 193 ruins within the 70 km2 of land with a gate in the centre of each wall. Inside are the remains of the royal palace and 26 temples, the largest being Wat Mahathat. The park is maintained by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand and UNESCO, as it is a World Heritage Site. It is visited by thousand of visitors each year who marvel at the ancient Buddha figures, statues and palace buildings of the beautiful ruined temples destroyed by numerous Burmese invasions over the centuries.The protection of the area began in 1962 and in July 1988 the park was officially opened.
RamkhamhaengMuseum in the Sukhothai historical park contains numerous relics (especially statues, stucco work and ceramics from the era ) particularly interesting are a stepping Buddha, a seated Buddha and a seated bronze Buddha made by some of the finest Buddhist artists of their time. In the museum garden are other statues and artefacts.
The first Buddhist temple in the UK is in London Wat Buddhapadipa in London and was founded under the auspices of Thai Royal Patronage since 1965 when it was originally located in Richmond. It moved to its present site at 14 Calonne Road, Wimbledon in 1976. There is an "Ubosot", a Thai style building for monastic ceremonies - it is in fact, the only Thai temple ever built in Europe and major centre for the British Thai community.
The main Buddha statue was presented to the Temple by the King of Thailand in 1966. The second statue of the Buddha, the golden one was presented to the temple in 1982.The third Buddha statue is a replica of the Emerald Buddha in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha - Wat Phra Keow at the GrandPalace in Bangkok. The two statues of the Great Disciples of the Buddha stand on either side of the main Buddha statue paying respects to him. These two statues were brought to the Temple in 1990.
A temple has been built by monks in northeast Thailand who used over a million recycled beer bottles to make the walls and roof.
Buddhist monks have recycled over one million used bottles to build their temple in Khun Han, Thailand near the Cambodian border.Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew or 'the Temple of a Million Bottles', is in Sisaket province close to the Cambodian border and 400 miles from the capital Bangkok.
The Buddhist monks began collecting bottles in 1984 and soon had so many that they decided to use them to build a temple in Thai ‘wat’. The local authorities and community sent them many more so they now have more than 20 buildings in the temple compound.
A concrete central core strengthens the framework of the building with green bottles coming from Heineken and the brown ones are the local Thai beer Beer Chang. The mosaics of the Buddha are created with recycled beer bottle caps.In total there are over 1.5 million bottles in the temple, and the monks at the temple are intending to reuse even more.
About 20 kms outside of Bangkok is a relatively little known park dedicated to preserving Thai cultural heritage in the form of the many significant buildings and historical places from throughout the country in magnificent landscaped gardens and lakes.
Founded by rich Thai businessman Khun Lek - the "AncientCity" (Muang Boran in Thai) contains an amazing and incredible collection of reconstructed Thai cultural heritage.
Occupying a massive 320 hectares of land and laid out in the shape of Thailand, this huge park copies well over 100 (though to a slightly smaller scale) important Buddhist and pre-Buddhist monuments and statues from around Thailand.
It also includes the reconstructed throne hall from the ruined city of Ayutthaya which was destroyed 200 years ago when the old capital of Ayutthaya was destroyed the Burmese. It contains some quite exquisite Thai wall paintings and Buddha statues and images from the era.
The Ancient City is constantly expanding and improving. Under construction is a massive temple set in sumptuous gardens which when finished will contain over 1,000 Buddha images and statues - one of every kind and style.
The ‘city’ currently employs some of Thailand’s finest stone and wood carvers.
Sala Keoku is a Buddha park featuring giant fantastical concrete and stone sculptures inspired by Buddhism and Hinduism. It is located near Nong Khai, Thailand in near to the Thai Lao border. The Buddha Park was built by and reflects the personal vision of Luang Paw Bunleua Sulilat and his monks and followers and the construction of the Buddha Park began in 1978.
This Buddha park is of fantastical stone and cement Buddhas and Hindu deities and shares the style of Sulilat's earlier creation, the Buddha Park located on the Lao side of Mekong, but has even more extravagant fantasy and is of greater proportions.
Some of the Sala Keoku stone and cement sculptures and statues tower up to 25m in height. This includes a monumental stone statue of the Buddha meditating under the protection of a seven-headed Naga snake.
The Sala Keoku central temple hall is a large three-story concrete building, whose domes are very similar to that of a mosque. It was constructed after his death. The 3rd floor of the temple hall has a large number of Sulilat-related artefacts, including his mummified body.
Perhaps the most powerful part of the Buddha Park is the Wheel of Life, a circular group of sculptures and statues representing the karmic cycle of birth and death. It ends with a young man taking a step across the fence surrounding the site to become a Buddha statue on the other side.
"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful. " Buddha
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