Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)


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A wat (Thai: วัด wat Lao: ວັດ vad, Khmer: វត្ត wōat) is a Buddhist temple in Thailand, Cambodia or Laos. The term is borrowed from Pali vatta, "which goes on or is customary, i. e. duty, service, custom, function".



Strictly speaking a wat is a Buddhist sacred precinct with a vihara (quarters for bhikkhus), a temple, an edifice housing a large image of Buddha and a structure for lessons. A site without a minimum of three resident bhikkhus cannot correctly be described as a wat although the term is frequently used more loosely, even for ruins of ancient temples. As a transitive or intransitive verb, wat means to measure, to take measurements; compare templum, from which temple derives, having the same root as template.

In everyday language in Thailand, a wat is any place of worship except a mosque (Thai สุเหร่า surao or มัสยิด masjid; a mosque may also be described as โบสถ์ของอิสลาม - bot khong itsalam, literally "Islam church") or a synagogue (Thai สุเหร่ายิว - surao yiw). Thus a wat chin is a Chinese temple (either Buddhist or Taoist), wat khaek is a Hindu temple and wat khrit or wat farang is a Christian church, though Thai โบสถ์ (โบสถ์ bot) may be used descriptively as with mosques.

In Cambodia, a wat is used to refer to all kinds of places of worship. Technically, wat generally refers to a Buddhist place of worship, but the technical term is វត្តពុទ្ធសាសនា wat putthasasana. A Christian church can be referred as វិហារយេស៊ូ vihear Yesaou or "Jesus vihear". Angkor Wat អង្គរវត្ត means "city of temples".


According to Thai law, Thai Buddhist temples are of two types:

  • Wat (วัด; wat) are temples which have been endorsed by the state and have been granted wisungkhamasima (วิสุงคามสีมา), or the land for establishing central hall, by the king. These temples are divided into:
  • Royal temples (พระอารามหลวง; phra aram luang), established or patronised by the king or his family members.
  • Private temples (วัดราษฎร์; wat rat), established by private citizens. Despite the term "private", private temples are opened to the public and are sites of public religious activities also.
  • Samnak song (สำนักสงฆ์; samnak song) are temples without state endorsement and wisungkhamasima.
  • Structure

    A typical Buddhist wat consists of the following buildings:

  • chaidei or chedi (Khmer ចេតិយ), (Thai เจดีย์) (from Sanskrit: chaitya, temple) - usually conical or bell-shaped buildings, often containing relics of Buddha
  • vihear (Khmer វិហារ),wihan (Thai วิหาร) from Sanskrit: vihara) - a meeting and prayer room
  • mondop (Thai มณฑป) (from Sanskrit: Mandapa) - a usually open, square building with four arches and a pyramidal roof, used to worship religious texts or objects
  • sala (Khmer សាលា), (Thai ศาลา) (from Sanskrit: Shala - School, from an earlier meaning of shelter) - a pavilion for relaxation or miscellaneous activities
  • bot โบสถ์ or ubosot อุโบสถ์ (from Pali uposatha) - the holiest prayer room, also called the "ordination hall" as it is where new monks take their vows. Architecturally it is similar to the vihara; the main differences are the eight cornerstones placed around the bot to ward off evil. The bot is usually more decorated than the viharn.
  • hall (Thai หอไตร) - library where Buddhist texts are kept
  • drum tower (Thai หอกลอง)
  • bell tower (Thai หอระฆัง)
  • multipurpose hall (Thai: ศาลาการเปรียญ, study hall) is a building in a wat. In the past this hall was only for monks to study in.
  • The living quarters of the monks, including the กุฏิ (pronounced kut, kutti or kuti - monk cells) are separated from the sacred buildings.

    The roofs of Thai temples are often adorned with chofas.


    Some well-known wats include:


  • Angkor Wat, Siem Reap
  • Wat Preah Keo, Phnom Penh
  • Wat Botum Vathey, Phnom Penh
  • Wat Moha Montrey, Phnom Penh
  • Wat Ounalaom, Phnom Penh
  • Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh
  • Wat Bakan, Pursat
  • Laos

  • Pha That Luang, Vientiane, Laos
  • Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang
  • Thailand

  • Bangkok
  • Wat Suthat, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple)
  • Wat Ratchanatdaram
  • Wat Phra Kaew
  • Wat Arun
  • Wat Bowonniwet Vihara
  • Wat Pho
  • Wat Saket
  • Lan Na (Northern Thailand)
  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai
  • Wat Chiang Man, Chiang Mai
  • Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai
  • Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai
  • Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, Lampang
  • Wat Phumin, Nan, Thailand
  • Other regions
  • Phra Pathommachedi, Nakhon Pathom
  • Malaysia

  • Wat Phothivihan
  • References

    Wat Wikipedia

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