THE SANCTUARY OF TRUTH
About a three hours’ drive from Bangkok, if you search hard enough, you will find this hidden modern marvel. Situated on the East coast of the Gulf of Thailand, in the Chonburi district, stands this magnificent wooden structure, towering over one hundred metres into the air. We arrive via taxi and are greeted at the front gate by a friendly Thai smile that you will find all over the country. The entrance is about three hundred metres from the actual building, and after paying our entrance fee of 500 Baht ($15) we are given the opportunity to be driven to the main structure on a horse drawn cart.
The Sanctuary of Truth
The Sanctuary of Truth is essentially a large temple like structure. It is reminiscent of the structures of the Khmer people who lived all over Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Burma thousands of years ago. It is a very spiritual place, not being built for one religion, but many. You can see influences from mainly Buddhism and Hindu all over the place. Every square inch is covered in sculptures.
The horses pull up on top of a crest overlooking the temple and the ocean. The sheer size of the place has me in wonder. It is still under construction and I am required to wear hard hat as it is still, in essence, a construction site. Work began back in 1981 and is due to be complete in 2025. An incredible 45 years in the making! My eyes do not know what to focus on. Everywhere I look I see another beautiful wooden sculpture enticing me to study it. Sculptures of all sizes and shapes. Religious icons such as Brahma, Buddha, Shiva and Vishnu for example.
According to the official website:
“The purposes of decoration with wooden carve sculptures are to use art and culture as the reflection of Ancient Vision of Earth, Ancient Knowledge, and Eastern Philosophy. With in this complex, visitors will understand Ancient Life, Human Responsibility, Basic Thought, Cycle of living, Life Relationship with Universe and Common Goal of Life toward Utopia.”
The location is magical, with the ocean in the background; it was a perfect choice to build this complex. To begin with, I walk completely around the structure taking many photographs. There are many entrances to the actual building, all with fantastic staircases that wind their way in. Once inside the wonderment continues, with high ceilings and multiple levels. I walk around for close to an hour studying what is presented. The building has many themed sections and accompanying sculptures. Each with an explanation in several languages about the spiritual importance of that area. I take some moments to reflect and think about the philosophies this place is trying to teach me.
Outside again I found workshop of about fifteen artists all working on various pieces. I sit down and watch them at work. During my time there I did not see any power tools, and they were all using various chisels to hand carve their art. It was truly amazing to see these people at work. I can’t wait until the place is finished and look forward to returning one day to see what has changed.
All the sculptures were being made on site
There are various activities that are possible to partake in as well. Many people ride on top of Elephants around the castle, giving a unique and special vantage point to soak up the view. There is a seafood restaurant that offers food at a reasonable price. You can also take a ride on a speedboat, go shooting, ride an ATV or horse riding for only a few hundred more Baht. There is also a souvenir shop, where you can take home your very own original wooden carved sculpture. There is a dolphin pool and have a few shows daily.
If you are in the area, take some time out from your busy schedule and visit the Sanctuary Of Truth. It is truly a most awesome sight. I think their website sum it up the best:
“To ponder the great questions of heaven and earth and yet live for humanity, to study and teach the sublime knowledge of scholars of the past, and to create eternal Peace for all mankind.
This is the true goal and the knowledge great men strive to achieve.”