Wang Saen Suk

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The Wang Saen Suk Monastery Garden (also known as Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden and Thailand Hell Horror Park[1]) is a wat (monastery temple) garden in Thailand. A popular tourist attraction, it is meant to describe and depict Naraka (Buddhist hell).

Geography[edit]

The hell garden is located at Sai 2, Soi 19, Saen Suk, close to Thailand's Bang Saen Beach.[2] Near the garden is a Thai hotel resort.[3]

Features[edit]

The Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden is the largest hell garden in Thailand.[3] At the entrance of the monastery garden, a brightly colored sign reads "Welcome To Hell"[3] Further inside the garden, another sign reads:[4]

If you meet the Devil in this life, don't postpone merit-making which will help you to defeat him in the next life.

At the start of the garden trial sits a giant "fat Buddha" statue.[3] Numerous cement-and-plaster statues depicting life in a Buddhist hell can be found throughout the garden. After a series of relatively peaceful, spiritual scenes, the visitor turns a corner to see a diorama depicting Buddhist hell. Two large figures named 'Nai Ngean' and 'Nang Thong' stand high above the tortured souls of the garden; their emaciated appearance, long necks and distended bellies seems to mark them as Preta, the 'hungry ghosts' of Thai folklore.[2]

Around the feet of these figures are arranged 21 tortured souls, each with the head of a different animal. These animalistic characterisations reflect the nature of each soul's sin; plaques at the feet of each feature inscriptions such as:[2]

Ones who make a corruption are punished in the hell, they are named as the spirits of the pigs.

Ones who sell the habit-performing drugs are punished in the hell, they are named as the spirits of the cows.

Other designations include the ungrateful becoming tigers, jealous people being named rabbits and a bird head given to those who steal cooked rice.[2]

After this first area come illustrations of the specific punishments for a list of very particular crimes. These include depictions of human sinners being ripped apart by the dogs of Hell,[5] burnt alive in boiling cauldrons,[5] disembowelled by birds,[6] and having their head replaced with that of an animal.[3]

Donation boxes located next to each scene encourage penance through charity. They also detail the sins likely to incur the depicted torture; these range from a woman being crushed in a vice for committing aborticide, to a man having his head savagely knocked off for undermining Buddhism.[2]

The central area of Wang Saen Suk, featuring the Pretas and tortured souls, June 2013

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Trip To The Buddhist Hell Gardens of Thailand". Horror Fan Zine. August 22, 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Richter, Darmon (June 10, 2013). "Dark Tourism: Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden, Thailand". The Bohemian Blog. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Hellier, Chris (February 2007). "The Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden, Thailand". Fortean Times. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ Erlich, Robert S. (September 27, 2011). "Where to experience Buddhist hell in Thailand". CNN. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Nicholas Jackson, Rachel. "The Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ King, Suzanne (September 22, 2011). "World’s weirdest roadside attractions". msn. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 

Coordinates: 13°17′51″N 100°54′43″E / 13.29750°N 100.91194°E / 13.29750; 100.91194