|Thailand Travel Information: Thai
"Wat", literally means temple. Ever since the
ancient times, Wat has played a significant role in many aspects
of Thai society, artistically, educationally, morally, and
In a Buddhist Wat, the most important building is called “Ubosoth”,
a place where religious rites or services are performed to the
Buddhists on important occasions, such as on Wan Pra, or other
religious days. Next importance to “Ubosoth” is “Sala Kara
Parianya”, - a place where the Buddhists usually assemble for
merit-making, such as giving food to the priests, praying, or
attending sermons, if these are not done in “Ubosoth”.
Besides, we find a few small “Salas”, which serves as
resting-places for those who go to church, and rows of
buildings, mostly in wood, which serve as the dwellings of the
Another commonly seen architecture of Thai Temples is a “Chedi”
or pagoda, a cone-shaped structure with a lofty spire. Its spire
mostly ornamented in gold was purposely built to enclose the
sacred relics of the Lord Buddha. Some Chedis were built up by
kings or wealthy nobles simply in commemoration of their
deceased wives or relatives, and contained only Buddhist images
or some or other sacred symbols.
Socially, Wat has been, from the old days, a gathering point
of people on important religious days or festivals. Not only for
merit-making, people go to the temple for amusement as many
kinds of entertainment such as lakhon (classical Thai dance
drama) or like (Thai folk opera). Young men and young women are
also granted a chance to talk to each other openly.
Artistically, Wat houses an excellence of arts; be it
paintings, sculptures, and architecture. Most of Thai finest
artworks can be seen in the temples throughout the country. Wat
is also served as a center of education in the old days when
education was restricted only to Thai male and when modern
educative system has not emerged yet. The monks gave not only
intellectual but also moral education to Thai boys.
Even today, a lot of schools are still found within the
temple's area. In the moral point of view, Wat is the place
where people usually go for spiritual appeasement. Usually, lay
Buddhists go to the temple to offers alms-making to the monks
and attend the sermons whereby they believe to refrain from
their self-gratification and to contribute peace in mind.
Related Topics: Religion &