Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew: The Temple of a Million Bottles, Thailand
Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew is a Buddhist temple entirely made of empty bottles.
A weird yet equally beautiful temple, Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew is one of the major tourist attractions in Thailand. Surprising as it may sound, this temple is built with more than 1.5 million empty beer bottles, and hence the name ‘Temple of a Million Bottles’. Located in the Khun Han district of Sisaket province, the construction dates back to 1984 when a group of Buddhist monks started collecting empty bottles littering around the sea. With the help of locals, they used those bottles to build the temple which is now drawing the attention of tourists from all over the world. From the main hall to prayer rooms to residential quarters and more – everything is made up of bottles. Now, Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew is considered a great example of eco-friendly tourism.
In the late 20th century, the local Buddhist monks got extremely concerned about the environment after seeing the mounting litter in and around the sea. So, in order to reduce the pollution, they started collecting empty beer bottles (which are of different shapes, sizes, and colors) from there. The monks realized that those bottles were construction materials, and then began using them to build the temple. Soon, the local people and even the government also helped out in the construction. Within two years, the main temple that we see today got completed. The monks continued expanding the site and went on to build several other structures in the surrounding areas.
Needless to say, that Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew holds a very unique architectural style. It is built using two different types of bottles – green Heineken bottles and brown Chang bottles. The main temple is built on a concrete core. Besides that, there are over 20 additional buildings that represent a similar construction style. A special attraction is the mosaics which are created using the caps of the bottles.
There are lots of other attractions located close to the temple. You can visit the Khao Pra Wihan National Park that seems surreal with its tropical forests. Also, there is the centuries-old Temple of Preah Vihear which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Wat Tai Phrachao Yai Ong Tue is another important temple that represents an amalgamation of Thai, Khmer, and Vietnamese styles of architecture. Apart from these, the list also includes Wat Nong Pa Phong, Prasat Si Khoraphum, Wat Maha Wanaram, and more.
Good to Know
In 2015, Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew was listed among the “10 Leading Examples of Sustainable Architecture” by the famous website When on Earth.