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Baan Devalai Artist Temple: Chiang Mai’s Wooden Masterpiece to Ganesh

A wooden art gallery and Ganesh shrine in Chiang Mai’s northwest manifests an artist’s vision blending Hindu, Buddhist, & Thai art traditions.

What appears to be a modest shrine hiding in the forest backstreets at the foot of Chiang Mai’s Doi Suthep is actually a masterpiece of traditional wooden artistry. Carved collectively by many artists over a decade, this property hosts an intricate amalgam of Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, Thai, and several other mythological elements. It also boasts the world’s largest wooden carving of the Hindu god Ganesh.

The Story of Roitawarabarn Baan Devalai

Roitawarabarn Baandhawalai (ร้อยทวารบาล บ้านเทวาลัย) is an art museum and religious shrine owned by Khem Marukapitak. The shrine’s name translates as: “100 holy gatekeepers, living manor of the Deities”. This name is transliterated in several ways throughout its own documentation — so, for lack of a direct translation, is referred to here as Baan Devalai or “House of the Gods”.

The project was envisioned as a unique blending of artist space, holy sanctuary, and artistic endeavor. This places Baan Devalai in good company alongside Chalermchai Kositpipat’s world-famous Wat Rong Khon (the White Temple) in Chiang Rai and Bunleau Sulilat’s Sala Keoku and Buddha Park in Nong Khai and Vientiane, respectively.

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Posted by Paths Unwritten

My name is Ben. I’m a native Michigander with a passion for human culture and new places, and more than that, new experiences. I have degrees in writing and anthropology and have no idea what I want to do with them. For now, I’m content with an unbound lifestyle; going where I want and doing what I can, and hopefully gaining some interesting stories along the way.

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