top of page

Wats of Thailand

Architecture, the external space

is an extension of

spirituality, the internal space

Click on the following links to jump ahead or scroll down.

I am neither an architect nor a spiritual guru. This is not a detailed, authoritative treatise on either topics. I am an artist, I capture in images what I see (blissfully ignore what's not visible and what I can't see), tell my own story, my impressions and thoughts about the images I captured. Two very prominent things I noticed as would you in wats of Thailand are colors (use of gold as a predominant color) and shapes (pointed eaves and dragon/peacock motifs).


You can't miss it, gold is the color of choice, metal of choice too, gold here, gold there, gold on stupas, gold on the eaves, gold on the buddha, gold on coins, gold on spires, dragons, monk's is everywhere. Gold is the sign of reverence to Buddha, gold is a means to flaunt wealth, power, prestige, influence. Gold is a promise to the poor - you pray and abide by the teachings of Buddha and gold is what you get - an inherent promise. Every one wants, loves, seeks gold.

Spikes, Spires & Fires

Thorny spires, pointy eaves, fierce dragons raining down from the sky, jaws wide open, as if they are roaring or spitting fires, golden peacock heads on the roofs, even the peacocks' and dragons' tongues and combs are pointy, crown the king wears has a pointy spire on it. If you were to paradrop or skydive in Thailand, beware! There are so many of them everywhere that you will impale yourself on one of those.

Wat Arun

On a Grab bike ride, waiting forever for the signal to let us go, amid Bangkok traffic, thick as clay, while the hazy May sun was beating down mercilessly on naïve me, I ask myself why I chose to come here at this time of the year, just to save some money?


To avoid other tourists and tourist traps, I chose to visit only select landmarks and avoid the popular choices. The former is not possible (I sound like a dick, I know, how can I say that being a tourist myself?) but the latter is.


I don't want to check any stupid boxes, I don't have a bucket list - god that sounds so cliched and ridiculous. I don't want to see the whole world, I don't want to see everything in every country I visit - life is too short for that. I just pick some experiences that suit my temperament and move on, like you pick the stuff you need from a store and ignore the rest - you don't buy everything, because you don't need everything.

Wat Arun, Bangkok, Thailand

"100 baht, cash only!" the lady at the counter said.


100? Why pay to visit a temple?

She wasn't interested in my opinion. It was 9 in the morning, and she was already bored to death.


I paid, picked up the ticket and a squat bottle of water she placed on the counter.

Wat Arun looks similar to Konark temple in India. The Sun with chariot of 7 horses. Unlike old temples in India, wats in Thailand are built with mortar and adorned with intricate glazed pottery. Huge slabs of stone are best used near the quarry they come from.  Hauling them all the way to Thailand from Rajasthan in India - just the sound of it sounds painful. 

A thick wooden drumstick is wrapped thick in layers of dirty cloth, it's like a rubber mallet. When you hit the super thick brass gong with it you get a rich, super low bass vibration that tickles your ear drums and if you are my type, your spine as well - spine purrs.

An old man was selling lemons inside the wat - I didn't get it, there was no other vendor around, only this. Noticing my curiosity he cut a wedge out and let me taste it. I chewed the whole, rind and all. That's when I realized three others were watching me, they burst out laughing - chewing bitter things is not for everyone - however it is amusing to see others do it, or so it seems. For the whole culture hooked on sugar, putting bitter things in one's mouth is inconceivable, I get it. I bought some of those overpriced, ordinary tasting lemons. I used one later that day and carefully left the rest on the hostel's kitchen counter hoping someone else will find them useful and not discard them. 

Many south east Asians have fluid spirituality - they can pray in any temple, any place of worship, to any deity, even the unfamiliar ones, they are not dogmatic about it. As long as a deity grants your wishes, just pray, practical and sensible! 

A well nourished single mom and her daughters (in their 20s) were checking with me (each separately) what I was doing traveling alone with a camera that big. Curiosity is a good thing.