(The title came to me from an Asian movie I like a lot, « Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring again »… not for « blockbusters fans », since it is so slow… but wonderful in its meditative state).
Type “Thailand temples” in a search engine, and you’ll get zillions of photos, each one more spectacular than the previous one…
But I never find there the « something » that drives me back to these Buddhist temples every time I stay in Thailand: the mood…
First, the visual one: the “decorations” show most of the time a complexity defying the imagination… myriads of tiny sculptures, incrustations and colours; a good example of what Pascal J called a “busy” picture, worthy of a challenge :D)… but at the end, the result is surprisingly peaceful, graceful, bringing serenity!
And then, the “atmosphere”…
My wife and I spend many weeks nearly each year (out of pandemic times…) in Chiang mai, North of Thailand, since 2016.
Mostly « un-destination »… not a location tourists target first; but it’s charm lies in the special but recognized « vibe »… relaxed, peaceful, smiling… times stops here, really.
It hosts a lot of expats and so-called “Digital nomads” for that very reason (the very affordable cost of life being the other one, of course…).
Sitting at an altitude of 400m, the air is not suffocating like in Bangkok.
And the people of the North, called Lanna (the Southern ones are the genuine Siamese) are famous for their great kindness…
That evening, my Buddhist wife and I decided to attend a ceremony at a very holy temple, the « Silver Temple », the Wat Sri Suphan; these events are clearly targeted at tourists, with some « scenic lighting » (hence the « destination »); for those interested, here is a link amongst many about the temple’s construction: https://www.orientalarchitecture.com/sid/1056/thailand/chiang-mai/wat-sri-suphan.
But… with the absence of foreign tourists this year, 90% of the attendance were Thai visitors… hence Buddhist believers; so at the end it was both authentic and touching!
The « spirit rope » (the monks start it from the temple, link every person with it, and it ends up in a Buddha’s hands), the candles, the prayers… it sounded simple and true.
The Thais have a very candid relation to their Buddhism; just watching Buddha with the rope ball in his hands… smile 🙂
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