It’s not only in Bangkok where you’ll see beautiful architectural structures, often in the form of temples where tourists are welcome to visit. In Pattaya, there’s a Sanctuary of Truth that deserves as much attention as any popular work of art in the country.
The Sanctuary of Truth is located along the seashore of Rachvate Cape, Tumbon Naklea, Amphur Banglamung, Chonburi Pattaya. It is a huge building made of wood designed to withstand strong winds. It stands proudly on a rock-strewn area of the seashore just North of Pattaya. Its roof reaches to as high as 105 meters and the whole structure covers an area of 3, 200 square meters
In Pattaya, it tends to be overlooked and ignored in favor of a more exciting attraction, but unknown to many, every square inch of the temple was made in wood with carvings reflecting the four principal philosophical and artistic influences in Thailand such as Hindu, Khmer, Chinese and pure Thai. The wooden carvings also depict the arts and the culture of Thailand. As well, the place is decorated with wood-carved sculptures intended to show the Ancient Vision of Earth, Ancient Knowledge and Eastern Philosophy of Thailand.
Originally constructed for Thais to develop deep understanding of Ancient Life, Human Responsibility, Basic Thought, Cycle of Living, Life Relationship with the Universe and Common Goal of Life towards Utopia, the building was built to the order of a rich Thai citizen, Mr. Khun Lek. Mr Khun Lek has built other famous structures in Thailand as well, like the Ancient City in Bangkok and a three-headed, elephant-shaped art museum called Erawan. Later, after several years of research, he conceptualized the wooden temple he decided to call the Sanctuary of Truth, and its construction began about 20 years ago.
Nowadays, the finishing of the temple is still being done. The intricate and detailed carvings on the wood are the reasons why the construction of the temple is taking too long, and it’s not expected to be finished in the next five years or so. Unfortunately, Mr. Khun Lek will never see the structure completed as he died several years ago. Even so, his instructions are being followed to the letter. Some 250 wood carvers are finishing the work yet to be done according to the smallest details of the structural plan. Each of the four wings of the building reflects the four styles. One wing is reminiscent of the Bayon Temple at Angkor Wat, another one is predominantly Chinese and the main wing where the entrance is located is done in Thai. The only deviations are the other structures built around the main sanctuary designed to entertain tourists and visitors of the place. The area where guesthouses were supposed to be now is a guest entertainment area used for dolphin shows, pony rides, cart rides and elephant rides.
Because the Sanctuary of Truth is not yet finished but is already open to the public, part of its attractions include the opportunity to observe and watch the workers carving wood designs. Students of art will find a visit to the building all worth it. The skillful construction is sure to inspire and fascinate even the ordinary tourists.