Sanctuary of Truth


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Lek Viriyaphan's Sanctuary of Truth - September 10, 2005

The incredible Sanctuary of Truth is located on a small cape north of Pattaya.

Another eccentric cultural project of the late Lek Viriyaphan, the Sanctuary is a wooden monument that stands in defiance of the harsh ocean elements. It already seems to be rotting away while at the same time expressing a vibrancy rare in Rattanakosin-era Buddhist art.

Modern Thai religious art is usually lacking in the sensitivity and expression compared to the art of earlier eras. The projects underwritten by Lek--including the Erawan Shrine--have sensational and nontraditional ornamentation and a vibrant quality. For instance, the full-figured statues on the peak of each roof on the Sanctuary are a thrilling and creative decorative flourish.

The Sanctuary also has an almost unique emphasis on Thailand's common heritage with Chinese, Cambodian and Lao artistic influences with each wing of the structure integrating Thai artistic style with a style of a neighboring artistic tradition.

There is an ironic emphasis on the 'Buddhist commandments' of not drinking alcohol and committing adultery --at a location just north of Pattaya. The tableau is also slightly spoiled by a dolphin show in a nearby dirty pool, but the Sanctuary is an awe-inspiring sight and should not be missed.


Facts about the project

- It was initiated by the late Lek Viriyaphan, the owner of Thonburi Automobile (the agent for Mercedes Benz in Thailand) and Viriya Insurance. He also is responsible for Muang Boran, the Erawan Shire, and the Samut Prakarn Crocodile Farm.

- The green color of the wood is due to treatment with CCA (copper, chromates and arsenic).

- The project was started on August 13, 1981.

- From a plaque at the site:
Area: 32 acres
Shape: A wooden sanctuary pavilion
Indoor: 2,115 square meters
Height: 105 meters
Length: 100 meters

- Interesting info about Lek from the Sanctuary of Truth website: On April 29, 1972, it was so hard for us to accept that our parent has passed away. Our mother died nine years ago at the age of 78 years old at the Bangkok Hospital. Our father had built the commemoration place to keep her bones at Mueng Boran, Bang Pu. The father often sat at the shelter as this place can see her grave. Today, our father also followed the mother peacefully on November 17, 2000.
The day we were waiting for has come. His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen came to cremate their bodies on September 4, 2001.
Usually, our family likes to show our works but not ourselves. It is because we think it doesn't matter. However, for recording our parents' story to the next generation, we gladly let this record happens.
Our father was born in business family. The grandfather was an owner of pharmacy store in Sum Peng. He was like a playboy. Therefore, our father had 7 sister-in-laws and many from another mothers. Perhaps from this reason, he left Thailand and went to China for studying as he had relatives there...


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

From a plaque at the entrance to the Sanctuary: From the Cold War era until today, the world has been under the influence of western civilization , accentuated by materialism and devotion to advanced technology. Many natural areas have been degraded , and men have drifted away from their old values in such a way that morality and spiritual contentment have become irrelevant to many people. Their attempts to control nature have transformed many people into egotistical individuals who are out to destroy one another through incessant wars and economic plundering. Most are after only happiness in this life, and believing that there is no life after this...


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: From a plaque at the entrance of the Sanctuary: Wood sculptures in the front gate depict parents as the creators who give life to their offspring. Parental love is clean and pure. It is giving without taking, just like water in a clear stream that refreshes the heart and soul. The kindness of a father and mother is greater than the sky and the ocean.


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: The central chedi


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Rafters in the west wing.


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Massive planks that make up the floor.


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: The site is surrounded by a Rattanakosin-style wall.

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Khmer vaulted roof in the south wing.

Right: Octagonal rafters in the Chinese-themed north wing.


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: The central pillar of the site (traditionally thought to contain a ghost)

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Cement block foundation encased in wood.


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Squared Khmer columns in the south wing


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Model of the structure in a nearby pavilion.


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

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