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WAT PA MAHA Chedi Kaew in Khun Han district in Si Sa Ket in the Northeast is better known among local residents as the “Temple of a Million Bottles”.

In fact, the name understates the reality – as the temple has more than 1.5 million bottles.

Those bottles – mainly green and brown of various sizes – have been used to decorate different buildings and structures in the temple, like the arch at its entrance, the main hall, the bell tower, crematorium, parking space, monks’ abodes, and even toilets.
The idea of using bottles to decorate the temple came from its founder, Phra Khru Vivek Dharmajahn, who is better known among his followers as “Luang Pu Lot”. The monk once set up his tent during an austerity trip on foot in a burial ground that houses the temple today.
At that time, many local residents came to discuss teachings of the Lord Buddha and learn about Dharma with him. So the monk then decided to build a temple on the deserted burial ground.
He found that a lot of bottles were dumped near the area so he decided to use them to decorate the first abode he built inside the temple area in 1984. By using bottles, he could save a lot of money that might otherwise be used for paint or tiles. 
The monk later managed to collect more bottles from nearby villages to |decorate other structures to be built in his temple.
People who learned about his idea later often brought empty bottles with them when visiting the temple. With a plentiful supply of bottles, the monk |managed to construct more buildings and structures.
Bottles are used as decorations in most of the temple’s buildings and structures that are made with concrete. But some structures are constructed mainly with bottles – such as a pavilion built in water that has been made of almost 100,000 bottles of different colours and sizes.
The “Temple of a Million Bottles” has now become an important tourist destination in Si Sa Ket.

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Published : June 25, 2017

By : Prasert Thepsri THE SUNDAY NATION