Parasol at Wat Rong Khun (White Temple), southwest of Chiang Rai. The parasol (chattra) is one of Buddhism's eight auspicious symbols (ashtamangala), signifying protection within the Dharma from spiritually-harmful forces. The seven-tier parasol (sawettachatra) represents the seven aspects of enlightenment – awareness, concentration, delight, effort, equanimity, tranquillity, wisdom. Some also believe it symbolizes the seven levels of heaven, the top (nirvana) being for the enlightened.
Wat Rong Khun is an unconventional Buddhist temple outside Chiang Rai that is being constructed under the direction of Chalermchai Kositpipat, a controversial, award-winning Thai visual artist intent on this being his master work, to which he is completely devoted. Construction began in 1997 and, similar to Gaudi's Sagrada Família, is not expected to be completed until after the artist's death (in 60-70 years). Work on the White Temple is largely financed by Kositpipat to maintain artistic integrity, although individual donations up to ฿10,000 are accepted. There will be a total of nine buildings on the nearly 3-acre site – viharn, chedi, ubosot, ho trai, mondop, phra rabieng, crematorium, art gallery, restrooms.
Wat Rong Khun
Baan Rong Khun, Pa O Don Chai Sub-District
Mueang District, Chiang Rai 57000
Tel: +66 (053) 673 579
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