The temple sits out in the middle of the vast swath of rice fields that covers the valley of the Ping River. Its bucolic setting only enhances the effect of its beauty and the wonder the astonishing detail struck in my awareness. This is no “country church” as we are wont to see in the States, something that without the steeple and the cross could easily be repurposed into a garage. Not a bit of it. The architecture and the detail would make Chiang Mai proud to have this temple within its precincts.
The last two pics I found an endearing bit of truth in advertising. When one comes to a temple it usually presents itself as a fait accompli, with no trace whatever of the labor that went into its construction. There it sits, perfect in itself, as if conjured by magic. The grounds of this country temple revealed the very human side of things. It was amusing — a smile crept over my lips as soon as I saw it — to find this rag-tag corner of the grounds with works in progress. The fat Buddha sits waiting for something momentous to happen, blissfully unconcerned about either the where or the when. The pile of sand awaits deployment into mortar or filler between the bricks of a platform, perhaps, and there it squarely sits, unadorned and looking thoroughly secular. To find these raw materials next to the highly accomplished temple structures seemed right to me, since nothing on this Earth happens by magic with regard to putting stone upon stone or paint to surface. I appreciated the honest signs of things that bring such buildings to life. If anything could be called magic it’s the skill and knowledge that enable people to transform such materials into buildings of artful and accomplished aspect like our little country temple.
Had I not begged from my perch on the back of the motorbike to stop and visit the temple, my friend would have driven past it in the desire to reach Doi Saket. After a quick debrief on the state of rice crops in the Ping River Valley (all was well, I’m happy to report) we hit the road again, our sights firmly fixed on reaching Doi Saket. But on the back of the motorbike sat the tiresome foreigner I am, so it was not to be. Why? COFFEE! 🙂
Well before we reached the turning for Doi Saket I spied a handsome little cafe beside the highway and poked my friend in the ribs as I pointed in its direction. A word to the wise sufficed, and besides, he knew I was paying LOL. It turned out to be a wonderful little place, run by a sweet-natured middle-aged woman who had obviously taken charge of the grounds as though it were her garden at home. The pics will do better talking than I can: