GPS coordinates: 12°58’10.9″N 100°53’27.7″E (12.969687, 100.891013)
Opening hours: 8:00 – 18:00, daily
Entrance in 2019: 500/250 THB for adult/child of 110-140 cm height (children less than 110 cm. high – free); 390/180 THB if you buy tickets via Klook. It’s not only a museum, but a sanctuary also, so be dressed politely.
Sanctuary of Truth is unique piece of art – it’s a completely wooden structure built without use of nails (you will see traditional Thai ways of joining timber elements in the temple). Also this is the highest wooden building in the world for today (2019) – 105 meters high. If you want to know more about the creator of the Sanctuary of Truth, Lek Viriyaphan, you are welcome to read his biography in section “People”.
Sanctuary of Truth is still unfinished in 2019. Construction of the temple was started in 1981, that’s why you will see quite many interesting things here, well, wearing a helmet on a visit inside of sanctuary. Nobody knows when the construction will be completed – timber is fragile material, so construction goes along with restoration of already created elements.
Sanctuary of Truth is a mixture of Eastern beliefs and Eastern architectural styles of different periods. The main idea of the temple is to show that all religions lead to the only one Truth. Decoration of sanctuary underlines significance of religious philosophies, as (according to conviction of the creator) they contribute in stability of the world by teaching people to avoid evil intentions and promoting good deeds (what the science was incapable to do).
Of course one needs to be a scientist to appreciate how elegantly all these religions and styles were intertwined with each other. But let’s try to get the meaning without any additional education, with less words. 😉
The Sanctuary of Truth has 4 entrances that lead to 4 halls. On roof of each wing (=hall) there’s a magical creature (deity, fairy, angel – call it whatever you got used to) that has its own specific admonition for people. Each entrance, hall (interior), creature and exterior is different.
The sanctuary is displaced regarding cardinal points (x state of +). It doesn’t affect the ideology of temple, but it brings some chaos to those, who try to navigate in unknown culture – even in official website of museum they are called wrong. So I will put in brackets the real position of sanctuary’s wings:
1. East (Southeast in fact) – recalls to remember of gratitude and underlines the importance of family based on love and care of each other.
– Magical creature has scriptures as a reminder of duty to preserve and inherit religious philosophy because it serves as a guideline in life.
2. North (Northeast in fact) – reminds of importance of social and spiritual development: share happiness and everything one’s got without expecting anything in return. Taoism, Confucianism & Mahayana Buddhism.
– The creature brings lotus flower as a sign of duty to practice religious teachings in order to make religions exist as long as possible for the sake of society.
3. West (Northwest in fact) – 4 elements (= all significant components of the world) as seen in Hinduism. All these gods are important in most of eastern religions also:
– Brahma (these are his 4 faces that decorate a tower of this wing), he’s responsible for the Earth as its creator and for the Wind as he moves flying;
– Shiva is a symbol of Earth as a god that lives on Kailash mount (it’s a real mountain), and his third eye is a symbol of Fire;
– Vishnu symbolizes the Water as a god that rests in “Milky ocean” (that was the beginning of our world).
– Meanwhile the fairy on the rooftop holds rice grains and a pigeon in its hands as a reflection of duty to maintain fertility for the peace in the world.
4. South (Southwest in fact) – reminds of the influence of planets, sun and moon and also of the possibility of creatures/gods/humans to live happily together (as an example – reincarnation of Vishnu into Krishna).
– Magic creature holds a child and an old person by hand reminding of mankind’s duty to hold on to the principles of humanity.
All these 4 halls lead to the main (central) hall. Doors between halls are decorated with wood carving based on one of basic Buddhism studies about 4 Noble Truths. In the center of hall there’s an empty throne as a reflection that everyone can be equal – people, fairies, gods. There are no deities that guard doors and the hall itself is very high – a sign of liberation (timeless truth, salvation, enlightenment and harmony).
The spire of the sanctuary is decorated with a creature on a horse – it’s an image of mankind that fulfills all 4 duties (provided by magical creatures) and enjoys eternal peace all over the planet.
Please give me some time to come up with the way how to acquaint you with mythical Thai creatures – all these nagas, erawans, kinarees and garudas can be met almost everywhere in Thailand, that’s why it’s useless to put them all in this article.
Out of amusements on the territory of the Sanctuary of Truth you can see shows (martial arts and traditional dances). They are included in the price of ticket, but they are held only twice a day at 11:30 and 15:30.
Guided tour is also included in ticket price – it lasts 20 min. inside of temple and it is held as soon as there will be enough visitors for a group.
For extra money you can ride – an elephant, a horse, a quad bike, a speedboat, a horse-drawn carriage and even a boat in a pond. There are many variations of combined tickets – check Klook.
Take Pattaya map with you – just click the star and it will be saved in your Google account. Any locations in this region that I will add later will appear on your map.
Pictures without FalkTime watermark were borrowed from official website of the Sanctuary of Truth.