Gothic but Buddhist

Gothic but Buddhist

Gothic but Buddhist
The main Buddha image at Wat Niwet Thammaprawat sits in the hall showing Gothic Revival architecture.

When King Chulalongkorn commissioned Wat Niwet Thammaprawat in Ayutthaya's Bang Pa-in district in 1876, the monarch wanted his subjects to have a "special" temple to pray in and marvel at.

The fact the King wanted the temple to be designed following Gothic-Revival aesthetics was never seen as an inclination to embrace another faith.

Designed by Italian architect Joachim Grassi, the temple -- sitting proud on an island on the Chao Phraya River opposite the Bang Pa-in Royal Palace -- stands out with its stained glass windows and spires. The temple, which took two years to complete, can only be accessed through a cable car from the palace.

Though from the outside the temple looks like a church, a Buddha image sits on the Gothic altar.

Wat Niwet Thammaprawat has been bestowed the special status of aram luang or a royal temple where the annual royal kathin (or robe-giving) ceremony is held.

The outward appearance of Wat Niwet Thammaprawat resembles that of a Christian church.

Multi-coloured stained glass windows lend the temple its prominent, visible feature.

Western influence is evident in a small pavilion in the main hall.

An old tablet inscribed with information about the temple's construction.

Buddhist monks pray before the principal Buddha image in the temple hall.

A cable car shuttles visitor back and forth between the temple and the Bang Pa-in Royal Palace.

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