All posts by Architecture of Buddhism

Visiting Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho (pronounced Wat-Poor) is one of the most famous temples in Bangkok. Located in the Phar Nakhon district, Wat Pho is walking distance to Kaho San Road and the Chayo Phraya River.

The wat is world famous for the huge image of the reclining Buddha inside the temple. The statue is 15 meters high and 43 meters long, with the foot of the Buddha scribed with pearls. The underside of the foot is split up into 108 unique sections, displaying lucky symbols.

Bangkok Wat Pho reclining Buddha” by Phillip Maiwald (Nikopol) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Next to the statue lie 108 bronze bowls that reflect each of the symbols on the Buddha’s foot. It is believed that you will bring luck upon yourselves if you place money into these bowls. The money collected is used to help maintain the temple. Continue reading Visiting Wat Pho, Bangkok

The Golden Lands Book – Frequently Asked Questions

The Golden Lands, by Vikram Lall - JF Publishing in partnership with Abbeville Press, September 2014 - international/publisher-direct ISBN 9789670138039

The Golden Lands, by Vikram Lall – JF Publishing in partnership with Abbeville Press, September 2014 – international/publisher-direct ISBN 9789670138039

Here are some answers to frequent questions about The Golden Lands book – and please feel free to add comments on this post or contact us with further questions.

What is the book about?

This is a study of the architectural history of Buddhist stupas, temples, monasteries, and temple complexes, through the eyes of a professional architect, covering many famous historical (and living Buddhist) monuments in Southeast Asia, as well as documenting a series of lesser-known sites.

The book is in “coffee table” size and is extensively illustrated with beautiful colour photographs, as well as diagrams and maps.

Eventually the whole (planned six book) Architecture of the Buddhist World series will extend this survey to cover all regions of the world up to and including modern Buddhist architecture. Continue reading The Golden Lands Book – Frequently Asked Questions

Recommended Asian Architecture Books: Tuttle

We’ve mentioned two architecture of Buddhism books from Asia-specialist publisher Tuttle before – Borobudur: Majestic Mysterious Magnificent [ISBN 9786029827903]  and Borobudur: Golden Tales of the Buddhas [ISBN 9780945971900]

Here is a selection of other architecture / design / history titles from the same publisher and associated publishers which are likely to be of interest to architects, Asian culture lovers, and travellers.

The ISBN can be searched in any online bookstore, and each image links to the book’s page on tuttlepublishing.com

Architecture: South and Southeast Asia

Burmese Design & Architecture; ISBN 9780794604639
Burmese Design & Architecture; ISBN 9780794604639
Balinese Architecture; ISBN 9780804844598
Balinese Architecture; Periplus Editions; ISBN 9780804844598

Continue reading Recommended Asian Architecture Books: Tuttle

Wat Yansangwararam – A Modern Thai Temple close to Pattaya

Wat Yansangwararam (pronounced Wat Yana-sang-wara-ram) is located approximately 20km south of the seaside town of Pattaya. Enclosed in a huge 145 acre complex, Wat Yansangwararam is surrounded by clean gardens, massive lakes, and several different architectural styles of buildings, making it the perfect place to spend a day seeing the quieter side of Thailand.

The entrance of the monastic complex, and Wat Yansangwararam towering above it.
The entrance of the monastic complex, and Wat Yansangwararam towering above it. Photographer: Jason Gong

The temple was built in 1976 to celebrate the Supreme Patriarch Somdej Phra Yanasangworn, who at the time was the current leader of the Thai Monastic Order.

Wat Yansangwararam is now dedicated in honour of the current Thai King, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). Continue reading Wat Yansangwararam – A Modern Thai Temple close to Pattaya

Visiting Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya – Thailand

Wat Mahathat (pronounced Wat Ma-har-rarrt), also known as the Monastery of the Great Relic, is a temple ruin located in central Ayutthaya, Thailand.

The temple is believed to have been built around the 14th century and was once residence to the Supreme Patriarch leader of the Thai Buddhist monks. Today it sits in the Ayutthaya Historical Park along with several of temples, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991.

Wat Mahathat, within the Ayutthaya Historical Park; the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991
Wat Mahathat, within the Ayutthaya Historical Park; the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991

History of Wat Mahathat

Wat Mahathat first fell into ruin in the early 16th century when the main prang was said to have collapsed.

Continue reading Visiting Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya – Thailand

Visiting Pha That Luang in Vientiane

Pha That Luang in its current state consists of a lot of restorations as recently as the 1930s, but the original site dates back to the 3rd Century
Pha That Luang in its current state consists of a lot of restorations as recently as the 1930s, but the original site dates back to the 3rd Century

Pha That Luang is a Buddhist stupa located just 5km from the centre of Vientiane in Laos.

It is believed that the current principal stupa of Pha That Luang was built in the 1566 century and to this day is the national symbol of Laos. Pha That Luang was built when King Setthathirat decided to move the capital of Laos from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, and ordered the construction of a magnificent stupa. He believed that creating Pha That Luang would help to achieve his own enlightenment.

Architecture

The main stupa was designed to resemble a pyramid and is protected by 30 more smaller stupas at the base. The stupa is around 69 meters long and approximately 45 meters high: builders were said to have used a thousand pounds of gold leaf in weight to decorate it.

Continue reading Visiting Pha That Luang in Vientiane

Webliography: Buddhist Architecture in Indonesia

Here are our top recommended resources about the history of architecture in Indonesia, and travel to the historical sites, with particular focus on Buddhist temples, monuments, and archaeological areas.

(Webliography is a word we’ve just invented to mean a bibliography of web resources…)

This is a work in progress so please send us your ideas with other sites and pages we should include.


 The Top 5 Ultimate Links


 THE Essential Wikipedia Pages…


 Resources about particular places

Borobudur

Stupa Borobudur.jpg
“Stupa Borobudur” by Gunawan Kartapranata; transferred to Commons by User. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Continue reading Webliography: Buddhist Architecture in Indonesia

Visiting Bangkok’s Wat That Thong

Wat That Thong is a Thai Buddhist temple located in the heart of Bangkok that is not on most travellers itinerary, instead opting to see the more famous temples in Bangkok such as Wat Arun or Wat Pho (temple of the reclining Buddha).

Wat That Thong was built in 1937, and sits where two previous Buddhist temples were once standing. The biggest attraction of Wat That Thong is the beautifully crafted statue of the golden Buddha, sitting in the lotus position.

Wat That Thong is a beautiful modern Buddhist temple in Bangkok well worth adding to your itinerary
Wat That Thong is a beautiful modern Buddhist temple in Bangkok well worth adding to your itinerary

Continue reading Visiting Bangkok’s Wat That Thong

Periodization of Angkorian Architectural Styles

Angkor Wat is rightly Cambodia’s most famous historical and religious site, visited by millions every year [4.6million estimated in 2014]. But what is not clear to many until visiting is that Angkor is quite a large area near the city of Siem Reap actually containing many temples, palaces, and other ancient buildings of a wide range of architectural styles spanning several centuries.

Here is a public domain simplified map showing the many major sites near the main complexes of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom:

Karta AngkorWat” by Hobe / Holger Behr – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

An historical periodization of the styles of architecture found in and around Angkor can be a useful reference both to navigating the different eras of sites closely located in the area, as well as placing the temple architecture found around the rest of Cambodia.

Continue reading Periodization of Angkorian Architectural Styles

Selection of Slideshows about Buddhist Architecture

To provide supporting information for the launch of The Golden Lands book, we’ve published several slideshows of our own mainly about travel itineraries for Southeast Asia: check out our Slideshare page here http://www.slideshare.net/buddhistarchitecture

But we’re not the only ones on Slideshare with interests in these topics! Here are some recommended slideshows from other sources, have a look through! [Information from 3rd parties comes with no warranty 🙂 ]

Continue reading Selection of Slideshows about Buddhist Architecture

Visiting the 100-year-old Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar

Close up view of Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha Image - photo by Grace
Close up view of Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha Image – photo by Grace

Of the thousands of pagodas and temples in Myanmar,  Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda (also spelled Chauk Htet Gyi) stands out because of its famous huge reclining Buddha. The pagoda is located on Shwe Gone Dine Road, Bahan Township, in the North of Yangon.

The site is probably the second most popular tourist site in Yangon after the Shwedagon Pagoda. Chauk Htat Gyi means “great six layers” in Burmese  – so the pagoda in name and size surpasses the nearby Ngar Htat Gyi Pagoda which is the five layers pagoda! Continue reading Visiting the 100-year-old Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar

Slideshow: Introduction to Visiting Borobudur

We’ve put together a short slideshow introducing Borobudur to help you start planning your trip (or pilgrimage!) there…

More from our info about visiting Borobudur:

10 Historical and Trade Route Maps of Southeast Asia

The need for good maps in Asia began early in history thanks to extensive overland and maritime trading between the many states and kingdoms… and when looking at more modern maps of the Far East and Southeast Asia you will soon run into the history of the East India Companies in the region.

Here are some cartographic resources which reveal the companies’ and Western colonial powers’ own cartography as well as a selection of other useful maps and illustrations of trade routes.

The link to the information is given under each image. Where a high resolution version of the map is available online publicly I’ve linked from our smaller image here to the main file.

1. Dutch East India Company trade network in the 18th Century

Regional trade and indications of main export/import products

VOC i.e. Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oost-indische Compagnie) trade routes map by Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Dept. of Global Studies & Geography, Hofstra University

2. 1783 Bonne Map of India, Southeast Asia, and East Indies

The map below includes extensive inland detail: it was drawn by Rigobert Bonne for Lattre’s Atlas Moderne.

Rigobert Bonne’s 1783 map of India, Southeast Asia and the east Indies. – See more at: http://www.geographicus.com/P/AntiqueMap/IndiaSoutheastAsia-bonne-1783#sthash.Y4LUKjyd.dpuf

Continue reading 10 Historical and Trade Route Maps of Southeast Asia

Visiting sacred sites and temples in Southeast Asia: how to avoid getting overwhelmed!

Crowds at Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok: it's easy to get overwhelmed! (image source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangkok#mediaviewer/File:Wat_Phra_Sri_Rattana_Satsadaram_07.jpg )
Crowds at Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok: it’s easy to get overwhelmed! (image source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangkok#mediaviewer/File:Wat_Phra_Sri_Rattana_Satsadaram_07.jpg )

South East Asia has many prominent pagodas, temples and monuments which are the major attraction to the region, for history buffs, pilgrims, and general travellers alike. One of the common issues for new travellers is fatigue from seeing too many places at one time and trying to absorb huge amounts of information. Here are a few tips on how to avoid temple overload when travelling…

Continue reading Visiting sacred sites and temples in Southeast Asia: how to avoid getting overwhelmed!

Buddhist Centres in the UK

New from our research, here’s a mind map showing over 80 Buddhist centres and organizations in the UK, divided into centres in London vs rest of UK, plus Buddhist retreats in the UK, educational organizations, top web resources, and a few shops/bookshops.

Below is the mind map as an image, and to browse in full size with searchable/selectable text, please view the full html list of Buddhist Centres in the UK mind map here.

Mind map of UK Buddhist centres and organizations - click to view full size image
Mind map of UK Buddhist centres and organizations – click to view full size image