Wat Phumin – Pha Sing, Thailand - Atlas Obscura

Wat Phumin

Pha Sing, Thailand

Riding on a pair of architectural dragons, this Thailand temple holds murals full of lurid imagery. 


Many visitors to Thailand have noted a certain amount of “temple fatigue”, visiting so many temples that at the end they all look the same and one can quickly lose interest in even the most intriguing among them. However the historic Wat Phumin Temple easily separates itself from the pack with its strange, NSFW murals of demons and domestics. 

Built in 1596, Wat Phumin is a uniquely designed temple meant to evoke the feeling that it is riding aloft on the backs of two huge serpents called “nagas.” Also unique to the temple are the four entrances which are aligned with the cardinal directions and are each attended by a Buddha statue inside of the temple. While the temple was established in the 16th century, the current exterior of the building actually dates back to the 1800s, as do the site’s treasured murals.

On the inside of the building, covering nearly every wall are elaborate murals that were put in place during the temple’s 1800s restoration. The subjects of the murals are split between tales from the lives of the Buddha and simpler domestic representations, outlying life in the area during the 19th century. Among the historic paintings however are a number of shockingly graphic depictions of sexual misconduct and genital horror making the peacefulness of the site a bit circumspect.

Regardless of the slightly lurid imagery, the Wat Phumin Temple is still a site to behold, and at very least it will definitely help raise an eye even among travelers who have seen enough temples for a lifetime.   

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January 21, 2015

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