Buddhist temples are usually associated with peace and serenity but there’s one place of worship in Thailand that’s closer to hell.
Wat Mae Kaet Noi, known as the Hell Temple of Chiang Mai, is filled with grotesque statues and installations depicting torture and suffering in the underworld.
Set up by a monk who wanted to show believers the consequence of sin, the temple has now become a popular attraction for birthdays, weddings and funerals.
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Wat Mae Kaet Noi, Thailand, is filled with grotesque statues depicting torture and suffering in the underworld
Known as Hell Temple of Chiang Mai, it’s supposed to depict the underworld according to Buddhist teachings
Statues inside the temple show sinful victims being tortured in gruesome ways by demonic beings in red
The temple was founded by Buddhist monk Pra Kru Vishanjalikon, who had the idea for the temple in a vision.
He told Roads and Kingdoms: ‘I want to scare people. I want to make them afraid of hell and sin, make them feel ashamed.’
It’s designed to teach visitors about the afterlife and is free to enter.
Inside the grounds are dozens of sculptures, splashed with blood red paint, that show the consequences of sin in graphic detail.
The temple was set up by Buddhist monk Pra Kru Vishanjalikon, who had the idea for the temple in a vision
In hell, the sinners are tortured and must suffer according to their sin. Above, an alcoholic drug addict continues his torture
‘Things start off rather tame, comparatively speaking,’ according to Chris Backe , who visited in 2013
Each sin has its corresponding punishment. For example, a thief might have his hands cut off (pictured)
‘Things start off rather tame, comparatively speaking,’ according to Chris Backe, who visited the temple in 2013.
However, it would soon escalates to something more gruesome.
There are sound effects that accompany some of the installations, which add a surreal effect to the whole experience.
The statues covers almost every vision of sin – from drink and drugs to greed and murder.
Each sin has its corresponding punishment.
For example, a thief might have his hands cut off.
One of the most frequently depicted themes is that of the preoccupation with sex.
The statues, splashed in red, covers almost every vision of sin – from drink and drugs to greed and murder
Perhaps the most shocking part of the attraction is the sculptures showing women aborting babies themselves
Sinners are punished through the mutilation of their sexual organs – a warning to anyone who might think about adultery or committing rape.
Videos created by Rich Ford showed that when a coin is inserted into the machine, the mechanisms kicks into life, showing bodies being crushed in two and heads being severed.
Perhaps the most shocking part of the attraction is the sculptures showing women aborting babies themselves.
The act is illegal in Thailand and has been listed as a sin at the temple.
But the sculptures have been used as a way for women to repent their sins as some grieving mothers have begun leaving their aborted foetuses by the installations.
Pra Kru Vishanjalikon had admitted to helping these women to bury at least one baby in the garden.
Wat Mae Kaet Noi might seem like a bizarre horror story but hell temples can be found in different parts of Asia
There are hell temples in Asian countries including other places in Thailand, South Korea, China and Japan
Most of the temples are Buddhist but there are also Taoist temples in China featuring similar themes
Sinners are punished through the mutilation of their sexual organs – a warning to anyone who might think about adultery or committing rape
Wat Mae Kaet Noi might seem like a bizarre horror story but similar hell temples can be found in different parts of Asia, including other places in Thailand, South Korea, China and Japan.
Some, like Beijing Dongyue Temple, has been around since 1319 according to Chinaculture.org.
Although they are intended to be educational in the sense that they deter Buddhists and others from sin, it’s probably not somewhere you want to take your children.
OTHER HELL MUSEUMS IN THAILAND
Wat Ban Waeng, Udon Thani
The main attraction is the golden Buddha but there are various displays demonstrating heaven and hell.
Wat Phai Rong Wua, Song Phi Nong
Near to Bangkok, Wat Phai Rong Wua is a place where statues of souls suffering in hell stand right in front of giant Buddha statues.
Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden, Chonburi
The monastery garden is a popular local attraction, especially for those who want to learn about Buddhist folklore.
Wat Tham Ta Pan, Phang Nga
Set among the woodlands near Tapan Cave, the attraction is filled with a colourful but grotesque set of hellish statues.