Masterpiece ~ Buddha Park, Sala Keoku in Nong Khai, Thailand
Sala keaw ku is the name of a surreal sculpture park just outside Nong Khai in Northern Thailand. Also known as the Buddha Park,there are over 100 sculptures of religious icons, with some over 25 meters tall.
Sala keaw ku is the Masterpiece of the mystic Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat, born in Nong Khai Province in 1932. He bought the land in 1978 when he fled back to Thailand after the Laos revolution in 1975.. He had already created his first Masterpiece “Xieng Khuan” similar to Sala keaw ku near Vientiane. In fact the Sculpture Park lies across the Mekong River from Sala keaw ku.
Fusing Buddhism and Hindu ideologies, the images are taken from either Theravada or Mahayana Buddhism. The influence of Hinduism can be felt too, with images of Shiva and Pavati, Brahma and Vishnu.
There is no direct public transport but it is quite easy to reach the park by bike or even walking. Just ask the locals for directions.You can also arrange a return ride with a tuk-tuk (100 baht or so, including the cost of the driver waiting one hour) or maybe even hire a motorbike.
Particularly noteworthy is the Wheel of Life, depicting his theory of the cycle of life; you enter via a womb-shaped tunnel and walk the circle past statues depicting the stages of life from Luang Poo’s view, which is a cycle of influences and phases starting at one’s conception and ending at one’s death.
Luang Pu’s mummified remains are enshrined on the third floor of the Sala Kaew Ku pavilion itself.
It was built by, and born out of the vision of the Shaman Luang Pu Boun Leua Surirat and his followers. Walking around the park, you could believe that it was an ancient site, though in fact this Masterpiece only began in 1978.
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