Friday, 21 October 2011

Up Bright And Early For Our Trip Out,

as it happens just a short drive,

 to the Sanctuary of Truth, situated on the seashore at Rachvate Cape, Tumbon Naklea, if you go there as you go into the main gate, buy your tickets from one of the gate houses,

 then drive down past the timber yard to the car park, we were told some of these logs were over 150 years old,

then we saw the building itself, laid out with the four wings each 100 meters long, North to South and East to West, the highest point some 105 meters in the air, although the base is concrete above that level everything is made of wood, no metal rods, nails or fastenings are used, just wood and glue, it is mind bogglingly huge,

as we walked to the woodworking shed work was going on outside on a large structure,

 covered from sun and rain it was to big to be completed inside,

 as we went into the workshop there were pieces in all stages of completion,

 from designs drawn on flat surfaces,

 through to the final product, but here we were told two apprentices are removing large portions of wood as a part of their training to become skilled at the intricate part of the process,

 this lady having completed her training starts to form the fine detail,

 using a small chisel and hammer she may have trained for two or three years,

 every worker has his or her own set of tools,

 one of the huge headpieces being worked, this piece will be ready in about a years time,

 although looking like they are one piece, the larger sculptures are several pieces of wood joined together, if you look carefully you can see the joins in this piece,

 smaller pieces are worked by one person,

 a view of the left side of the workshop,

 we were then told the tour would begin so we left the workshop to return to it later, but as we left there is a scale model of the building in 1 : 10 scale,

 two dancers performed in front of the majestic backdrop,

 dressed in traditional costume they performed a village dance,

 followed by a demonstration of short block and long stick fighting,

 as a tourist on an elephant passes by in the background,

 audience participation was encouraged, just do not hit him too hard!

 another village dance was next,

 then the tour begun,

 from the dance area which was at the side of the building we made our way to the front,

 along the side, if you look carefully there is a lift to the higher parts of the structure,

 I love the intricately carved lift door,

 many of the carvings at the roof ends are meant to look like they are flying,

 this one certainly does,

at this end of the building some blocks of wood lie waiting to be worked on, the guide apart from explaining the history and meaning of the building told us four types of wood are used, iron, teak, mahogany and redwood all hard wearing, but the salt from the sea takes its toll, so work here will be never ending,

 the blocks we have just sen are destined to go here,

 as we walk round the corner there are the four faces which are pictured in so many books,

 it is not until you get close you realise how big they are,

but before we get closer we look at this side of one wing, it is all being replaced due to salt water damage, 

 we make our way towards the entrance,

 dwarfed by the sculpture,

 taking in the enormity of the structure it is so easy to miss so many works of art and skill, everywhere you look there are pieces to be admired like this one,

 then we are inside to the cavernous main hall the wings radiate out from,

 the boys pose before one of the carvings,

 looking out towards the sea a long boatman makes his way home towards the fishing village of Naklea,

 in this wing there are four carvings of Hindu Gods,

 each having control over one of the four life forces,

 we then made our way back into the main hall and marveled at the carvings in the ceiling,

 the work so fine,

 these are some of the main roof supports, most if not all are two, three or more pieces splined together,

 the green like appearance of some of the supports is caused by a chemical wash to help fight the effects of water,

 looking up from near the center of the main hall,

 we now make our way to another wing of the building,

but along the way the guide stops to explain all of the joints used in the construction of the building, 

 it is here that I learn my birth sign is Jupiter,

 another view of the magnificent ceiling,

 and of the shrine below it,

 every where you look there are beautiful carvings inside the building,

 many hauntingly lit from below,

 another corner of the building,

 next we make our way to the Chinese wing,

 here the guide explained about the two slightly different types of Buddishm, here the columns although difficult to see reflect the Chinese form of the faith, the columns are 8 sided, if this was to reflect the Thai version of the faith, the columns would be 9 sided,

 in this wing repairs are in progress,

 there are a series of alcoves depicting scenes which need some attention,

 although looking new these have just been repaired in places and restained,

 the guide did an excellent job of explaining many of the tenets of the faith the wings represent,

 Doc take a picture of one of the columns, the patten on it is I guess where it is to be carved,

 a stairway leading to one of the corner pieces,

 some of the double dove tail surface joints used to join flat boards,

 we make our way down from the final wing,

 here the guide explains about the importance of the family,

 tour over we make our way back to the workshops,

 even though Uday and myself have been here before, it was well worth the second trip, it is such an amazing building,

on the way back who should we bump into? none of than the guide that took us round last year, both guides a fountain of knowledge when it comes to talking about the building and the religions in it,

 we looked at a few more of the skilled artisans at work,

 a view along the right hand side of the workshop,

 the tree turn lathe,

 a log in place ready to go, it must be quiet a sight to see it in action,

 another group of workers on a huge headpiece,

 some fine detailed work going on here,

 whilst the two apprentices are still leaning their craft,

we were told that the gentleman sitting to the right is married to the lady in blue, both have worked here for many years, then 4 year ago their daughter in the white joined the workforce, keeping things in the family her younger brother started work here just a few days ago,

 more timber ready to be worked on,

 now days modern tools are used,

 like this power sander, all in all a wonderful visit, a must see if you ever come to Pataya,

admission to the Sanctuary of Truth is 500 baht and I have to say worth every baht of it, I have taken this from the sanctuaries web site, go visit.

The purposes of decoration with wooden carve sculptures

are to use art and culture as the reflection of Ancient Vision of Earth,

Ancient Knowledge, and Eastern Philosophy. With in this complex,

visitors will understand Ancient Life, Human Responsibility, Basic

Thought, Cycle of living, Life Relationship with Universe and

Common Goal of Life toward Utopia.

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