What’s a Wat?

While visiting Chiang Mai, Thailand Chris and I strolled around the city visiting a few of the wats. You might be asking yourself, “What’s a wat?”

One of the buildings of  the Wat Chedi Luang complex in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

According to  Wikipedia:

“A wat (derived from the Sanskrit word वात Vattaka) is a monastery temple in Cambodia, Thailand, or Laos.

Strictly speaking a wat is a Buddhist sacred precinct with monks’ quarters, the temple proper, an edifice housing a large image of Buddha, and a structure for lessons. A Buddhist site without a minimum of three resident monks cannot correctly be described as a wat, although the term is frequently used more loosely, even for ruins of ancient temples. (As a transitive or intransitive verb, wat means to measure, to take measurements; compare templum, from which temple derives, having the same root as template.)

In Cambodia, a wat is used to refer to all kinds of places of worship.

In everyday language in Thailand, a wat is any place of worship except a mosque.”

Wat Chedi Luang, the 600 year old temple that is surrounded by a large complex of small temples and buildings in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
I found the elephants on the 600 year old Wat Chedi Luang, very interesting. Thai love and worship elephants and it isn't hard to understand why. They are magnificent creatures.
Some detail on the Wat Chedi Luang.
This reclining Buddha is found in its own small temple next to the majestic Wat Chedi Luang.
A small temple this is also part of the Wat Chedi Luang complex.
Chris in front a huge tree growing in the Wat Chedi Luang complex. Apparently the scarves have been blessed by monks and tied around the tree.
The prayer hall at Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Â I just caught a school group passing. Â All students wear uniforms in Thailand. I saw one school uniform that went so far that they even standardized the backpacks.Â
Wat Phra Singh is just a short walk  from Wat Chedi Luang. Â
A Buddha statue on the wall outside of Wat Phra Singh.
A dragon guards the entrance of Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The inside of Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Not knowing if I was allowed to take the Buddha's photo, I quickly snapped one anyways. Eeeeekkk. Beautiful hey?
The famous Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai which is around three hours north of Chiang Mai. We took a small van from Chiang Mai to the Laos border and were fortunate enough to stop at this wat for lunch.  We could only imagine it in all its glory without the scaffolding.Â
One of the guardians of Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
Greedy hands claw at you as you walk over "hell" on your way to the bridge that takes you into the Wat Rong Khun temple.
Skull construction cones line the road next to the Wat Rong Khun. Â The wat is surrounded by symbols of human vices.Â
Gruesome heads hang from the trees surrounding Wat Rong Khun.


4 responses to “What’s a Wat?”

  1. I found this site under my bookmarks, probably bookmarked it my wife. Do you have a rss or something like this? I will come to Thailand the end of this month. There are many interesting wats to see.

  2. Man, those Wat Rong Khun sculptures are fantastic! It’s like something out of Dante.

  3. Jon Roe Avatar
    Jon Roe

    Cool. Now I see Wat all the fuss is about.

    1. Laura Beauchamp Avatar
      Laura Beauchamp

      Hee, hee. Very cute Jon.

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