Thursday, July 16, 2009

Temple of One Million Bottles - Now That's Recycling!

In Srisaket, a province here in Thailand on the Cambodian border, there is a Buddhist temple that you can say, has gone green (and brown)! The temple is called วัดป่ามหาเจดีย์แก้ว (วัดล้านขวด) Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew, but has been nicknamed Wat Lan Kuat or Temple of a Million Bottles.Apparently, the monks began collecting bottles in 1984 and ended up with so many that they decided to use them to build things with. As the followers visited and saw the bright green and brown glass shelters they began to donate more bottles. The monks eventually built the entire temple out of mostly Heineken and Chang Beer bottles.Not only did they build the temple and the main Chedi from bottles, but several other buildings including a crematorium, monk's quarters, pavilions and even the restrooms for tourists! There are somewhere around 20 such structures on the temple grounds, made from empty beer, energy drink, cola and ornamental liquor bottles.Murals depicting Buddhist symbols and the life of Buddha adorn the walls of the temple and are made mostly of painted bottle caps and clam shells. In fact, I was super surprised to find this one in the pictures I took at the temple...look familiar? Yeah, it's Buddha and the monkey and elephant!In total, more than 1.5 million bottles make up all buildings. With continued donations from the province and from the public, they are said to be planning new buildings on the grounds. I guess if kids' parents rail on them for drinking too much, they can say that they're trying to contribute to the construction of the local place of worship! Cheeky teenagers!

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