When it comes to the most famous or most beautiful temple in Chiang Rai, everyone thinks of Wat Rong Khun (White Temple), which was designed and built by Mr. Chalermchai Kositpipat, one of Thailand’s most popular contemporary artists.
Did you know that there is another place being talked about nowadays for its unique beauty, and it was designed by Mr. Chalermchai’s student.
The temple we are talking about is Wat Rong Suea Ten, some people called “Blue Temple”
Located only 2.5 kilometers north of Chiang Rai city center, Wat Rong Suea Ten is one of the most beautiful temples in Chiang Rai. The Wat Rong Suea Ten temple was just built recently but its origin dates back almost a hundred years. It is said some 80 or 100 years ago, when the area was still covered by forest, there was a small village there with an abandon temple nearby.
People back then often saw tigers out for hunting for food and saw them jumping across the creek near the temple. So the area was called “Rong Suea Ten” (creek with dancing tigers) and the village is called “Ban Rong Suea Ten” (the village of the dancing tigers).
There is no further detailed information about that abandon temple, but it is believed that the abandon temple later deteriorated over time and the area became deserted. The template was gone for more than 70 years.
The current temple that we see now was just built about 20 years ago because the villagers there did not have a place to make merit in their village. People had to travel to other temples which are quite far to perform some Buddhism rituals, which caused the people in the village to be scattered.
Therefore, they came together with the designer and some local financial providers to build this temple as a center for the people of Rong Suea Ten to unite and to hold religious ceremonies on important days.
The construction of the “Wat Rong Suea Ten” was planed since 1996 but the construction was not started until October 27, 2005 and it was completed on January 22, 2016, taking 11 years to construct. However, until today minor construction still can be seen daily, and similar to its counterpart, the White temple, the temple is still considered a work in progress.
The temple was built and designed by a local artist from Chiang Rai, Mr. Phuttha Kabkaeo. He was a student of Chalermchai Kositpipat, and he also had the opportunity to participate quite a bit in the construction of the Wat Rong Khun temple along with his teacher, Mr. Chalermchai.
The highlight of this temple is the blue and gold color scheme. The front of the temple features a stunning Naga staircase with beautiful shades of blue and green. The temple is surrounded by mythological creatures from the Himavanta forest (legendary forest in India literature).
The designer chooses a combination of sky blue shade and gold as color tone to create a distinctive feature for the temple. The sky blue color of the temple represents the universality of the teachings of Buddha that have spread throughout the world. This is a fundamental teaching based on cause and effect, likened to a clear sky. It is a contemporary Buddhist art that is imbued with the dharma of the Buddha.”
Inside the temple, there is a large white Buddha statue with intricate murals depicting the life of Buddha. Both the interior and exterior are adorned with blue hues and intricate artwork.
The white jade-look-alike Buddha statue is 5 meters wide and 6.5 meters high with a base made of 88,000 small Buddha images made from clay, delivered from Wat Mahawan Woramahawihan (Lampoon province) and countless gold and silver rings underneath.
In addition, there is a holy relic enshrined in the temple that was bestowed by Somdet Phra Yanasangworn, the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand at that time. The temple has also been granted the title of “Phra Buhda Rachamongkhon Bodi Tri Lokanat” which means that the Buddha is the support of all beings in will guide us in three worlds (Heaven, Hell and human world).
In front of the temple, there are two large Naga sculptures side by side, which has taken inspiration from the work of Mr. Thawan Dachanee, a famous artist who designed and build the Black House in Chiang Rai province.
Mr. Thawan is well-known for his art and sculpture, and he usually incorporated the design of the “Horn-and-Fang” shape in to his art, which are beautifully curved and sharp, to create a stunning and awe-inspiring display. The Naga sculptures here are therefore very beautiful, graceful, and inspiring at the same time.
Both beauty and spiritual belief of local people make “Wat Rong Suea Tenn” a popular destination for tourists and Buddhists to visit. Especially during this winter season, the dark blue sky and blue church make this temple even more powerful with the energy of the blue spiritual power. This temple is a must-visit for art lovers and photography enthusiasts.
Open: 07:00 -20:00 hours
Fee: Free for all visitors
Nearby places: Manorom, Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House