When you visit Chiang Rai’s famous white temple, Wat Rong Khun, you don’t expect to see the typical naga guarding the temple’s stairways. And architect/artist Chalermchai Kositpipat doesn’t disappoint. Elsewhere you know it’ll be naga, even when it is really markara or mom instead. That’s cool. I think I’ve got them down now. At least 90% of the time. Except for at Wat Lok Molee in Chiang Mai.
Out front of the wiharn there are naga. And a pair of mom show up at a smaller building off to the side of the compound. But out back of the wiharn they’ve gone with a motif I’ve yet to see in use at any other temple. A pair of snail shells, possibly stylized nautilus shells, flank the stairs there. There’s a smaller set hidden at a unused set of stairs on the building’s side too. That theme may or may not have a meaning. But rather than hunt it down I’m just gonna go with that the wat decided to screw with touri who thought they were now experts on the mythical creatures employed at Buddhist temples to decorate staircases.
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