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Thailand >  Buddhist temples

This page shows images of Buddhist temples and practices in Thailand. Nearly 95% of the population of Thailand is Buddhist and religion is an important part of their eveyday lives. Families with their children visit temples often, particularly during festivals. They mainly follow Theravada Buddhism, which is the most ancient form of Buddhism.

The temples are highly decorated and built in an architectural style similar to that in other Southeast Asian countries, particularly Cambodia and Laos. These ornate temples are in marked contrast to the Buddha's teachings to live a life of moderation.

Some key Thai words

  • Wat - temple
  • Chedi - a bell-shaped structure, often quite tall, under which relics of the Buddha or revered religious teachers are buried (a different term would be stupa or pagoda).
  • Sangha - community of monks
  • Viharn - assembly hall

 

Click on the photograph to enlarge the image. Use the arrows in the top right-hand corner to view a slide show. You can enlarge more than one image at a time and position these on the screen.


Temples Thailand
1. This is Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It is the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. It is situated within the grounds of the Grand Palace.
Temples Thailand
2. This is Wat Benchamabophit in Bangkok, also known as the Marble Temple. It stands out for its beautiful architecture.
Temples Thailand
3. The entrance of Wat Benchamabophit or the Marble Temple.
Temples Thailand
4. The ashes of the great King Chulalongkorn, who built Wat Benchamabophit at the end of the 20th century, are kept beneath this Buddha image.
Temples Thailand
5. Visitors pay respect to the Buddha at Wat Dhammamongkol in Bangkok. It is the tallest temple in Thailand. It is home to some 500 monks. People are not allowed to wear shoes into temples and they sit on the floor. This is common to Hindu, Muslim and Sikh places of worship.
Temples Thailand
6. This magnificent Buddha statue at Wat Dhammamongkol was sculpted from a single 32 ton block of jade found in a Canadian river.
Temples Thailand
7. This is Wat Dhammamongkol on a Buddhist holiday. During Buddhist festivals people visit temples to perform ceremonies and to listen to the monks' sermons.
Temples Thailand
8. This is an especially large congregation in the viharn on the day of Makha Bucha. Makha Bucha is a important festival celebrated to honour Buddha and his teachings.
Temples Thailand
9. Buddhist worshippers perform the "vien tien" or the candle light procession on Makha Bucha Day by circumambulating the ubosoth (ordination room) three times with a candle.
Temples Thailand
10. Worshippers lighting candles at Wat Suthat which is the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok. The traditional offering consists of candles, incense, and lotus flowers.
Temples Thailand
11. This is the main Buddha image of Wat Suthat in Bangkok. It is 8m high and 6.25m wide at the base. The Buddha image is referred to as Phra Si Sakyamuni. 'Phra' means venerable in Thai.
Temples Thailand
12. Throwing coins into the metal alms bowls produces a wonderful noise and is supposed to bring prosperity to the temple and the donators.
Temples Thailand
13. Young novice monks return from temple school in a small rural temple in Chiang Rai. Traditionally, village temples served as the primary form of education for most Thai boys.
Temples Thailand
14. The monks quarters at Wat Boworn in Bangkok.
Temples Thailand
15. Ordination ceremony at a small temple in Bangkok's suburbs. The newly ordained monk greets the Buddha image in the assembly hall or viharn.
Temples Thailand
16. This posture of the Buddha is called "calming the oceans". It was popular in the ancient Dvaravati kingdom that lasted from the 6th to the 13th century.
Temples Thailand
17. A rare black Buddha statue in a temple in Ratchaburi, a province in central Thailand.
Temples Thailand
18. This beautiful group of Buddha images can be seen at Wat Sri Suphan in Chiang Mai.
Temples Thailand
19. Seven Buddha statues at Wat Ched Yod in Chiang Mai in different postures (mudras), one for each day of the week.
Temples Thailand
20. A beautifully decorated temple hallway in a temple in the Northeast of Thailand.
Temples Thailand
21. This cliff in Chonburi, south of Pattaya, has a Buddha figure engraved in it. The engraving is 130m tall and 70m wide and is inlaid with gold. It can be seen from miles away.
Temples Thailand
22. This Khmer style tower (similar in style to Angkor Wat in Cambodia) is located in the heart of the fishing village, Prachuap Khiri Khan.
Temples Thailand
23. This is the mighty Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom. 120 metres high, it is the largest pagoda in Thailand and perhaps in the world. The history of the monument goes back 2000 years to the beginnings of Buddhism in Thailand.
Temples Thailand
24. A tall Buddha image welcomes visitors at Wat Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhorn Pathom.
Temples Thailand
25. Phra Pathom Chedi is an ancient temple. Many people come here to bring offerings to the Sangha (community of monks). There is always a monk present who receives visitors.
Temples Thailand
26. This photograph shows a temple built in contemporary Buddhist architecture in Nakhon Pathom.
Temples Thailand
27. Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon in Ayutthaya is famous for its very large bell shaped chedi (stupa). The chedi is about 60 meters high, constructed on a mound of raised ground with steps going up to the Buddha image placed half-way to the top.
Temples Thailand
28. The impressive Buddha statue in front of the chedi.
Temples Thailand
29. A view from the higher level platform of the chedi at Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon.
Temples Thailand
30. A row of stone Buddha status encircles the chedi at Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon.
Temples Thailand
31.
Temples Thailand
32. This image shows a "Mae Chi"or a lay female sweeping the temple grounds of Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon. Women have traditionally been denied the chance to become ordained members of the Buddhist clergy. Although there are no ordained females in the Thai sangha, women who have taken the vows are allowed to stay permanently on the temple grounds. They wear white robes.
Temples Thailand
33. Buddhist art is becoming more popular in the West. This is leading to a large scale commercialisation. Buddha heads, such as these, are a popular souvenir for tourists.

 
Introduction to Buddhism

Daily life of a monk

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