(Wat Thung Setthi วัดทุ่งเศรษฐี means Temple (of the) Millionaire's Field; there is a wat of the same name in Bangkok.)
This post is actually about Maha Rattana Chedi Sri Trai Loka Dhatu หมารัตนเจดีย์ศรีไตรโลกธาตุ (The Great Jewel Chedi of the three worlds) which belongs to the Wat.
16.4116693,102.8839183 = 16°24'42.0"N 102°53'02.1"E
About 8 km by car south-east of Khon Kaen city center, about 200 m north of hwy 230 / Khon Kaen ring road (which means you have to drive counterclockwise for direct access). The roads that lead to the wat are dirt tracks with many potholes.
No public transport I know of, but saw one songtheo (line 2, yellow) near the wat.
Visible from Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakon and from the ring road.
From their flyer:
วัดทุ่งเศรษฐี ต.พระลับ อ.เมือง จ.ขอนแก่น
Wat Toong Setthi, Phralub subdistrict.
Muang district, Khon Kaen province, Thailand
Very little information on the internet, one website in English and one in Japanese with pictures taken during construction:
It is not mentioned in Thai language travel guides and maps I read before the trip.
A friend takes me there in his car, about 15 minutes ride from Khon Kaen city center, arrive 11:30, leave 13:15.
I would describe the architectural style as Baroque, with influences from Chalermchai Kositpipat (Wat Rong Khun / The White Wat in Chiang Rai).
(Other wats in unusual architectural styles are Wat Niwet Thammaprawat in Ayutthaya in Gothic style and Wat Ratchabophit in Bangkok with Renaissance (?) style interior and Wat Pha Sorn Kaew in Phetchabun which I would call Gaudi-esque, and Wat Baan Rai in Nakhon Ratchasima province.)
Mosaics with Western Zodiac:
The rabbit and peacock above the doors refer to Chinese Zodiac and refer to years in which important events took place. (Thanks to a Thai friend who is very knowledgeable in such matters for this and other explanations.)
The stained glass windows in the dome represent 8 Hindu deities: พระอินทร์ Indra, พระศิวะ Shiva, พระอิศวร (Shiva again, with a Thai name), ...
Buddhist Hell painting on stained glass behind the back of the Buddha statue (I got access through an unlocked storage room with door standing open).
Etched glass windows with various subjects, among them Buddhist hell, and human and non-human real and fictional characters interspersed (I noticed Lilo and Stitch, Darth Vader, Doraemon, Hulk, Beavis and Butthead, Adolf Hitler (maybe far fetched, but clearly a Hitler salute), 101 Dalmatians, Mickey Mouse, Lion King).
Messages (4+6) on the etched glass windows (I actually typed this from the pictures I took of the windows, for my readers' education):
Giving Dhamma (path to wisdom).
Giving away one's possessions.
Offering forgiveness to others.
ทาน Dana (Giving, Generosity)
ทาน เป็นเครื่องแก้โลภะ Dana counteracts Lobha (Greed).
เมตตา Metta (Loving Kindness)
เมตตา เป็นเครื่องแก้โทสะ Metta is the antidote to Dosa (Anger).
ปัญญา Panya (Wisdom)
ปัญญา เป็นเครื่องแก้โมหะ Panya dispels Moha (Ignorance). One can develop wisdom by practicing Bhavana (Mental cultivation).
โมหะ Moha (Ignorance, Delusion)
Moha is the source of mistaken action. Moha brings epidemic. One who dies with Moha shall be reborn as an animal.
โจทสะ Dosa (Aversion, Anger)
Dosa leads to conflict and war. One who dies with Dosa shall be reborn as an obnoxious creature called Asurakaya (monster, demon).
โลภะ Lobha (Greed)
Lobha is the root of endless desire yearning to be fulfilled. Lobha causes famine. One who dies with Lobha shall be reborn as a craving creature Peta (a hungry ghost).
The four pavilions contain statues of Virupakkha ท้าววิรูปักษ์, Vessavana ท้าวเวสสุวัณ, Dhatarattha ท้าวธตรฐ, Virulhaka ท้าววิรุฬหก.
In the basement, there are more mural paintings and statues:
My friend told the following story: the monk was once so handsome, that all other monks wanted to have sex with him (sic!), so he used some magic to become fat so he can pursue his monk life undistracted.
There is a Buddhist Hell garden as well (the original reason for my visit, but pales in comparison to the chedi).
Verdict: spectacular, this place alone is worth the trip from Bangkok. One of the most interesting temples I have seen in Thailand.
Copyright 2014 ChristianPFC