When people picture a temple in their minds, they usually picture one constructed from marbles, bricks or stones and recycled building materials like bottles would probably have to be the last thing to appear in their minds!
It is hard to imagine that something as ordinary as bottles can create amazing infrastructure or architecture! It is estimated that close to 1.5 million recycled glass bottles were used for the purpose of constructing the “Wat Pa Maha Chedio Kaew Temple” in Thailand.
The Million Bottle Temple Created Out Of Recycled Building Materials
However, the “Wat Pa Maha Chedio Kaew” temple in Thailand is living proof that bottles too can make good architectural structures! The temple has been nicknamed “Wat Lan Kuad” which is Thai for “Temple of Million Bottles” Recycled glass bottles are considered to be the ‘cornerstone’, or rather cornerstones, in case of this temple.
The temple is a fine example of reuse of used building materials or cheap building materials. Located in the Sisaket Province, which is close to four hundred miles away from Bangkok in the North-east direction.
Glass bottles can be seen everywhere in this temple from the toilets to the crematorium to the surrounding structures! It is estimated that close to 1.5 million recycled glass bottles were used for the holy shrine. The story behind the creation of this temple is highly interesting too.
How the project started.
It was back in the year 1984 when a group of Buddhist monks decided to decorate their shelters using shiny green glass bottles. The shelters turned out to be so beautiful and attractive because of their shiny appearance that it attracted people and they began to donate glass bottles to them.
With time, they managed to collect enough glass bottles to make the structure that is standing today. Even the caps of the bottles were not discarded; these were used as mosaic murals for aesthetic reasons. The glass bottles are green in color, which is the predominant color of the temple; hence a lot of people refer to it as a green house of worship!
Contrary to the popular thinking, the bottles are extremely easy to maintain and they provide an added advantage to the temple: they allow natural lighting to seep in and light up the temple in a beautiful tinted way; who would have known that recycled building materials could do this much!
The temple is a solid example of sheer creativity by using recycled building materials and the desire to help the planet Earth and the environment by recycling building materials. In fact the temple can easily be considered as one of the world’s most ambitious recycling projects! It is a huge inspiration for the environmental activists and those interested in joining the ‘go green’ movement!
A highly imaginative and beautiful piece of Thai architecture.
Even though the Wat Pa Maha Chedio temple is very unconventional in nature, which is what attracts the attention of most people and instills in them a desire to see the temple in person, it still remains as a place of Worship.
In other words, the primary motive of the Buddhists when visiting the temple is to worship Lord Buddha and the secondary motive is to see the unique and remarkable structure for themselves. After all, it is quite hard to believe that a full-fledged Buddhist temple can be built simply with the help of beer bottles!
Temples are a very unlikely project for using recycled products or materials because these are considered to be the abode for the Gods, therefore they have to be built in the most lavish way using the highest quality items and luxurious materials like semi-precious stones, gold, mother or pearl, etc.
However, the spirit of recycling of the Buddhist monks in Khun Han definitely inspired millions of people all over the world. In Buddhism, drinking alcohol is considered to be a sin, the temple is considered to be a positive use of beer bottles.
The bottle caps are colored and used for making artwork like depictions of Lord Buddha, stars and mosaic patterns. The eco-friendly green beer bottles are extremely photogenic too. From a distance, the beer bottle temple looks like any other Buddhist temple, with its typical architectural features like pointy, multiple-tiered roofs. However, on closer inspection, the temple looks amazingly unbelievable as one would notice all the bottles and bottle caps used in its construction.
It is difficult to imagine as to how unconventional recycled building materials, like recycled bottles, can be used so beautifully and functionally as a part of the building! Storage containers are also a unconventional building material.
Who needs bricks and marbles when one can reuse bottles to build a temple like this?