This spectacular white building is called Wat Rong Khun or The White Temple. It’s a Buddhist temple located in Northern Thailand just outside the city of Chiang Rai. Designed by Thai visual artist Chalermchai Kositpipat in 1997, The White Temple is an awesome blend of traditional Thai architecture and both beautiful and grotesque surreal elements. It’s as much a work of art as it is a building devoted to learning and meditation.

"To reach the temple you have to walk over a bridge over a moat filled with innumerable sculptures of out-reaching arms, apparently symbolizing desire. Once inside, you will be greeted not by traditional Buddha life scenarios but by contemporary scenes and icons of popular culture. Instead of paintings of heroes fighting demons, the artist decided to take contemporary manifestations of good and evil and put it into a Buddhist context. Murals of Batman, Superman, Predator and even Keanu Reeves as Neo from The Matrix are seen in the interior."

Although it’s already an incredibly impressive sight, Wat Rong Khun is still a work in progress. The temple sits on 3 acres of property that will eventually include a phra ubosot (prayer room), pagoda, hermitage, crematorium, monastery hall, preaching hall, museum, pavilion and rest room facilities.

[via Amusing Planet and All Day Chic]

Thailand’s White Temple, Wat Rong Khun (วัดร่องขุ่น)

Located near the city of Chiang Rai, Wat Rong Khun (วัดร่องขุ่น)—known outside Thailand as the “White Temple”—stands as an unusual and beautiful mix of traditional Thai architecture and modern-day science fiction memorabilia. It was designed by painter-turned-architect Chalermchai Kositpipat, one of Thailand’s most renowned architects, who set out to create one of the most elegant temples in Chiang Rai.

The temple’s white color symbolizes purity; its glittering glass signifies the teachings of the Buddha; and the moat filled with outreaching arms represents desire. Detailed sculptures of skulls, demons and severed heads are also scattered around the premises. Perhaps most interestingly, a mural inside with images of Batman, Superman, and even the alien from Predator tell a modern-day story of Buddha.

Construction on Wat Rong Khun began in 1996 and is expected to finish in 2070, long after Kositpipat has passed. Plans include nine buildings built on an area of about 3 acres, and though it is a work in progress, the temple attracts an increasingly large number of visitors every year—many of whom share their visit to the temple on Instagram.