Thursday, 30 January 2014

Wat Phra Thammakaya (Pathum Thani) วัดพระธรรมกาย (ปทุมธานี)

Wat Phra Thammakaya (Pathum Thani) วัดพระธรรมกาย (ปทุมธานี)

Timely for my dear readers to include this place into their Makha Bucha / Valentine’s day (falls on the same day this year, 14.02.2014) plans. My recommended schedule for visit would be 6-8 pm for the procession, if you want to walk around in daylight come earlier.

Wat Phra Thammakaya = Wat Phra Dhammakaya = วัดพระธรรมกาย (the last “a” in the Romanization is absent in Thai, and in Thai pronunciation there is no “a” at the end)

It is such a vast compound that even I (as an avid walker) have not been able to go everywhere in two visits. I have not been to the third dome (furthest away from the main entrance).

All dimensions are gigantic: the hall could serve to store airplanes and the cloister is a square with about 1000m side length (measured on googlemaps) On a weekday (my first visit on a Friday), not much activity, but the dimensions alone are spectacular. On special events (my second visit on Makha Bucha Day) it’s a spectacle like I have never seen one before. The dome is illuminated and after sunset, candles are lit and carried around (“elevenfold counterclockwise circumambulation” if I remember correctly what I read on a sign there), then the fire is passed on to the worshippers whereupon the whole ground slowly lits with flames, followed by firework and accompanied by singing/prayers. A spectacle that could be part of James Bond or Indiana Jones movie or a Reichsparteitag (Nuremberg Rally, National Socialist German Workers' Party Convention).

I didn’t make it into any of the domes (opening times, visitors are required to dress in white).

All Thai people I have asked about it knew it, but it seems to be little known to foreigners.

On one visit to Thailand, I could clearly see it out of the airplane when flying to Suvarnabhumi, but when I had my camera out and working it was partially covered by clouds.

The fastest way to get there from central Bangkok is by taxi (50 km, 350 Baht), if you want to save money you can go by public transport to Future Rangsit and take taxi from there, doing all the trip by public transport is possible, but takes a bit longer (and return by public transport is unfeasible, I returned by taxi)

I have been there twice:

25.11.2011 (Friday, no special activties)
taxi from Silom to Victory Monument (30 min, 5 km, 100 Baht),
at Victory Monument we couldn’t find the free van (my Thai friend asked),
so we took van to Future Rangsit (13:31 – 14:03, 30 Baht per person),
from Future Rangsit bus 1008 (14:17 -15:12, 10 Baht per person),
back to Sathorn by taxi (17:25 – 18:27, 52 km and 7 minutes standing, 350 Baht + 45 + 55 toll)

25.02.2012 (Monday, Makha Bucha Day with impressive procession)
from Lak Si bus 554 aircon to Future Rangsit (16:06 – 16:31, 19 Baht per person),
bus 1008 (16:54 – 17:40, of which 17:15 – 17:28 detour for Thammasat University, 10 Baht per person),
taxi back to Lak Si (20:08 – 20:46, 33 km and 5 minutes standing, 220 Baht + 45 toll)

How did I know about this place? From the internet http://ilbonito.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/dhammakaya/ and from the book “Bangkok off the grid” (same author as the website).


Others have written about this place, check it out for additional information so I don’t have to copy paste:











(I will stop here, I have this compulsion to make lists.)



Address:
Wat Phra Dhammakaya
23/2 Mu 7, Khlong Sam, Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani 12120, Thailand Tel: +(66)-2831-1000
วัดพระธรรมกาย
23/2 หมู่ 7, คลองสาม, อำเภอคลองหลวง, ปทุมธานี 12120, ประเทศไทย โทร: +(66)-2831-1000

Location on googlemaps:






After passing the assembly hall, before entering the cloister:



Inside the cloister:





another dome:



 inside the dome:




 







second visit, dome in pool and assembly hall in background:







in the cloister:





lighting the candles starts at the dome:





firework:







(end of post)

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