The Sanctuary of Truth is a work in progress. Started in 1981, it is the brainchild of Thai businessman, Lek Viriyaphan. It is a combination of a temple, museum, and castle. It is currently unfinished, and not expected to be completed until 2025, at least. The building displays both Buddhist and Hindu beliefs.
Of particular interest is the fact that the building is constructed entirely out of wood, specifically mai deang, mai takien, mai panchaat, and teak, which are all trees that supply hardwood, or ironwood, as it is sometimes referred to. All of these trees are to be found in the region and much of the wood has been imported from Vietnam and Myanmar.
With the extensive use of these hardwoods, it is estimated that the temple building will last 600 years.
Sadly, this brings us to the issue of deforestation and many of the countries in the area, including Thailand, have, over the decades virtually destroyed their natural forests.
The Interior and our visit
We visited the Sanctuary of Truth in 2018. Parking quite close to the temple itself, we were first confronted with an enormous pile of tree trunks. Obviously, they had been delivered for the construction of the temple. However, we were horrified to think that they represented what had once been a small forest.
From that point, it was a short walk to the entrance where we were provided with construction helmets.
The first thing that strikes you is the amazing artwork of the carvings.
The temple features a four-faced Brahma statue on its rooftop depicting the Hindu creator. This shows respect for the father, mother, teacher, and king.
The Northern hall features the Buddhist Guaanyin and the wisdom of emancipation. The Southern hall features astronomical themes of the sun, moon, and other planets that impact on people’s well-being. The Western hall features representations of the elements, earth, water, wind, and fire and the gods that conquer those four elements.
More information on the Sanctuary of Truth may be found at the official government website: https://www.tourismthailand.org/Attraction/the-sanctuary-of-truth. Here you will find addresses and contact numbers should you wish to arrange a visit.
We were fortunate enough to visit Pattaya before the onset of COVID 19 and the resultant lockdowns. Depending on which country or location you are coming from it would be wise to check with the Thai government for the current health requirements. Please be aware that these change from day to day. Of course, there is a great deal more to see in Pattaya and the location offers fantastic holiday options.
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