The Blue Temple is known in Thai as “Wat Rong Suea Ten”, or “Temple of the Dancing Tiger”. Another ancient temple once stood here, and tigers are said to have roamed freely over the grounds when it was abandoned nearly a century ago. The Blue Temple as it exists today is brand new by comparison. The local village decided to rebuild the temple in 1996 and began the project in 2005. Construction was officially completed in 2016, but The Blue Temple is still considered a work in progress.
The stairs to the main entrance are guarded by naga serpents, whose tails ripple with detailed scales and twist and whirl around in entrancing elegance. The temple windows are protected by an angelic figure, posing proudly on a pedestal with feathered wings spread wide, a staff grasped behind its back. Brightly colored Yakshas, or female nature spirits, wait nearby to keep the temple safe from evil. Just behind the temple, a Buddha statue stands in an abaya-mudra pose, emitting an air of calmness and inviting visitors to relinquish fear and anxiety.
Inside, the Blue Temple is a kaleidoscope of colour and patterns, with elaborate and unbelievably intricate paintings completely covering every surface. Like most Thai temples, the walls depict stories of the life of the Buddha, but these have been painted in a particularly modern style. Much of this art is mounted in ornate gold frames which fit tastefully with the rest of the theme. Even the ceiling is spectacular, embellished with patterns so extraordinary they are almost psychedelic.
The centerpiece of the space is a seated Buddha statue, made of shiny white porcelain that looks eerie and blue in the reflection of the room. Powerfully framed by columns, he sits with one hand pointed to the ground, a representation of the moment he achieved enlightenment.