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Thai's Hell Garden

An unnerving trip through Buddhist Hell

Theres nothing subtle about the Wang Saen Suk Monastery garden, 90 minutes drive south of Bangkok, apart from its location, hidden down a quiet lane not far from the coastal resort of Bang Saen. At the entrance, a brightly coloured sign proclaims Welcome To Hell, while beyond lies a garish, in-your-face morality tale of sawn torsos, boiling vats and devilish figures tormenting worldly sinners.

The Wat (temple) Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden is a sort of unsavoury Buddhist theme park with a message. Judgement is black and white; punishments are swift, painful and gory.

I wondered how I would be judged as I tossed 20 Thai baht (30p) into the cavernous belly of a fat Buddha a collecting box and followed a Thai family with two young boys aged six or seven into the Devils lair.

Most Buddhist temples and monastery gardens have some reference to the nether world modest frescoes on the inner wall or gilded friezes of Buddhist hell but few go as far as Wat Wang Saen Suk, whose monks created their vision of hell as an elaborate, shock-horror sculpture garden some 20 years ago.

To watch images of the hell garden



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