Sala Keoku Sculpture Park

Rivo

New member
Had the oppurtunity to go and visit the Sala Keoku Sculpture Park last month when I was up in Nong Khai. I had the TGF and her cousin and is wife to show me around, the cousin who spoke no english was the only one who had been there before. Amazing the detail of the statues and alot of work must of gone into creating this place. I had never heard of this place, when we were there I asked a few questions regarding its history, I asked how old is this place was, answer very old maybe 100 year up ?, then next I was told I think 50 year, so I ask a lady in the shop and she say 30 year 555


Back in the hotel that night google was my friend, I should of researched the place the previous night, turns out it was in 1978 when construction started, you wouldnt think so as it looks very old, here what Wiki says : Sala Keoku (Thai: ศาลาแก้วกู่ [sǎːlaː kɛ̂ːw kùː], also spelled as Sala Keo Ku, Sala Keo Koo, Sala Kaew Ku, Sala Kaew Koo, Salakaewkoo, Sala Gaew Goo, Sala Kaeoku, Sala Kaeo Ku, etc. Alternative name: Wat Khaek) is a park featuring giant fantastic concrete sculptures inspired by Buddhism and Hinduism. It is located near Nong Khai, Thailand in immediate proximity of the Thai-Lao border and the Mekong river. The park has been built by and reflects the personal vision of Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat and his followers (the construction started in 1978). It shares the style of Sulilat's earlier creation, Buddha Park on the Lao side of Mekong, but is marked by even more extravagant fantasy and greater proportions.



Some of the Sala Keoku sculptures tower up to 25m in the sky. Those include a monumental depiction of Buddha meditating under the protection of a seven-headed Naga snake. While the subject (based on a Buddhist legend) is one of the recurrent themes in the religious art of the region, Sulilat's approach is highly unusual, with its naturalistic (even though stylized) representation of the snakes, whose giant protruding tongues beautifully complement the awe-inspiring composition.



The Sala Keoku pavilion is a large three-story concrete building, whose domes bear a surprising resemblance to a mosque. It was constructed following Sulilat's plans after his death. The 3rd floor hosts a large number of Sulilat-related artifacts, as well as his mummified body.



Sala Keoku: one step to BuddhahoodPerhaps the most enigmatic part of the park is the Wheel of Life, a circular multi-part group of sculptures representing the karmic cycle of birth and death. The composition culminates with a young man taking a step across the fence surrounding the entire installation to become a Buddha statue on the other side.


Here are a few pictures of the place...................












































 

Rivo

New member
You may aswell see the rest of the pictures I have of this amazing place............................












































 
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Cilla

Guest
Great pics Rivo, have to put that place on the to see list.

We all have a high standard for our pics now, 555555
 

Rivo

New member
Cilla;38907 said:
Great pics Rivo, have to put that place on the to see list.

We all have a high standard for our pics now, 555555

Like most places in Thailand, you have to know where you want to go, and what you want to see, sometimes you stumble across things by chance, my advice is you do the research first and then ask, maybe write things down as most locals have no idea what we are looking for 555
 
S

Spot

Guest
Nah Nah Nah Nah 555

[video=youtube;6BR6LIbvQDg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BR6LIbvQDg&list=FLTSV1E_ZKlHVzbxL1wkq0qw&index=6&feature=plpp_video[/video]
 
J

Jessica

Guest
This is one of my special parks I have attending since I was a baby. I have always loved it here.

"Salakaewkoo was built by the mystic shaman Luang Poo Boun Leua Sourirat, who passed away in 1996, after constructing it, with the help of devotees, for more than twenty years"

As a Lao national, he first started to produce sculpture on the riverbank on the Lao side of the Maekong river. But as the communists became more powerful, he became concerned that they may not accept his unorthodox views and so fled to Nong Khai in 1974, where he embarked on the creation of Salakaewkoo; his grandest artistic vision. The name means the ‘Pavilion of Kaewkoo’.
Today his mummified body can be seen on the third floor of the main building, under a glass hemisphere…He always claimed that his followers, who built all the statues, were entirely untrained, but their skill came to them from a divine source. Moreover, he frequently warned that anyone who drank even a sip of water in the park would eventually give to it all their money!

Rivo. Your pictures does the park justice, congratulations.
 
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Zablive

Guest
We had mind boggling afternoon there last year.
There is a lot of history about the settlement between the feudal warlords of Nong Khai there as well - unfortunately all in Thai.
 
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Spot

Guest
Jessica;39805 said:
This is one of my special parks I have attending since I was a baby. I have always loved it here.

"Salakaewkoo was built by the mystic shaman Luang Poo Boun Leua Sourirat, who passed away in 1996, after constructing it, with the help of devotees, for more than twenty years"

As a Lao national, he first started to produce sculpture on the riverbank on the Lao side of the Maekong river. But as the communists became more powerful, he became concerned that they may not accept his unorthodox views and so fled to Nong Khai in 1974, where he embarked on the creation of Salakaewkoo; his grandest artistic vision. The name means the ‘Pavilion of Kaewkoo’.
Today his mummified body can be seen on the third floor of the main building, under a glass hemisphere…He always claimed that his followers, who built all the statues, were entirely untrained, but their skill came to them from a divine source. Moreover, he frequently warned that anyone who drank even a sip of water in the park would eventually give to it all their money!

Rivo. Your pictures does the park justice, congratulations.
Thanks Jess,

I got a different explantion that may have been about one of the stories in gthe park that I took to be the story of the park.

It was about a man who, when there was major drought and everybody was starving, was working his rice feilds and praying for rain.

When his mother bought him a handfull of rice he chastised her, threw the rice on the ground and told her "how can i work so hard and you only bring me this to eat".

His mother then dropped dead from starvation as she was walking away from the rice feild, so this park was built as a penance by the creator to be a monument to his mother.... he donned the white robes of a false priest and worked there till he died, he started in the late sixties early seventies and died early nineties ?

Your input please, your English is way better than my families and I must have misinterpreted what they were telling.

Thanks Jessica
 
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Jessica

Guest
I have googled this for you Spot.. Bunleua Sulilat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia also Nong Khai's exceptional sculpture park » Old World Wandering: A Travelogue.
The place has so much local folk stories and of course they differ, but I think an explanation can be found here.
I have also extracted another piece for you as well <snip>

Luang Poo Boun Leua Sourirat loved snakes, so much so that he believed in the "coming of the age of the snake". Seeing them as the purest of all animals, having no arms or legs with which to destroy the world, he described himself as being half man, half snake. Was this love of these phallic like animals in some way connected with his reputed homosexuality?

He claimed that in his youth he had fallen into a hole in the forest where upon he met the acetic "Kaewkoo" who lived at the bottom of it. "Kaewkoo" taught him all secrets of the underworld, not least about snakes which were the principal inhabitants of that realm. Later, he trained as a Hindu Rishi in Vietnam and mixed Hinduism into his system of beliefs.
As a Lao national, he first started to produce sculpture on the riverbank on the Lao side of the Maekong river. But as the communists became more powerful, he became concerned that they may not accept his unorthodox views and so fled to Nong Khai in 1974, where he embarked on the creation of Salakaewkoo; his grandest artistic vision. The name means the "Pavilion of Kaewkoo".

Luang Poo passed away in 1996 aged in his early seventies. He was ill, it was said, from a fall from a ladder up one of his sculptures. But others claimed that he was suffering from some kind of anemia.

The main building and incence chapel were built after his death, following his plans and drawings.

He always claimed that his followers, who built all the statues, were entirely untrained, but their skill came to them from a divine source. Moreover, he frequently warned that anyone who drank even a sip of water in the park would eventually give to it all their money!

However, in the years following his death Salakaewkoo became more and more run down and untidy... until the local government stepped in and decided that his legacy should not be allowed to deteriorate further, so now it is being repaired and restored to its former grandeur.
There are more than one hundred sculptures in the park some of them reaching seven stories up into the sky.

Some depict snakes,
others images taken from either Theravada or Mahayana Buddhism. Hinduism is well represented too, with images of Shiva and
Pavati, Brahma and Vishnu.
The greatest sculpture of all is the Wheel of Life at the far end of the park.

Again Spot this has come from "google" how accurate it is, well I hope so, but it makes a wonderful history.
 
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PatongBeachBoy

Guest
Jessica;39859 said:
Again Spot this has come from "google" how accurate it is, well I hope so, but it makes a wonderful history.

I must admit I like Spots story better.... got a real fairytale feel about it 555

Maybe you could add it to Wiki Spot 555
 

Rivo

New member
Let me see, Option 1 : Wiki, Option 2 : Spots Story, Option 3 : My TGF's guess 555


I vote Spots story aswell :respect:
 
Z

Zablive

Guest
Spot;39858 said:
Thanks Jess,

I got a different explantion that may have been about one of the stories in gthe park that I took to be the story of the park.

It was about a man who, when there was major drought and everybody was starving, was working his rice feilds and praying for rain.

When his mother bought him a handfull of rice he chastised her, threw the rice on the ground and told her "how can i work so hard and you only bring me this to eat".

His mother then dropped dead from starvation as she was walking away from the rice feild, so this park was built as a penance by the creator to be a monument to his mother.... he donned the white robes of a false priest and worked there till he died, he started in the late sixties early seventies and died early nineties ?

Your input please, your English is way better than my families and I must have misinterpreted what they were telling.

Thanks Jessica
I heard/read that story too.
Maybe that's why Sourirat started his first statue park on the Laos side?
 
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Spot

Guest
What blew me away was how young the place actually is, at first glance until you see the ironwork on the unfinished sculptures the cklimate has aged is so nicely that it look very old... And the once inside the entrance gate you see sculptures of dogs riding motorscooters etc....I Still like the place but and this is one of my favouriyes bothaesthetically and just admiring how the hell it was sculpted....

Sorry folks photobucket is playing up its the budha with the dragon - snake tail with the mutilple cobra crown the highest one in the park?, its on my pics on 28 days in Isaan as well as Rivos... Chok Dee :)

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Thanks team you have taught me well i got it off my pictures in 28 days...
 
G

Guy

Guest
Definitely a place to put on my "to see" list.
I did not got to go to Nong khai on my trips. I always wanted to go but for some strange reason I always ended up somewhere else.
So next trip I have to make sure to end up there. Would be a good plan to visit my friend in Ban Dung then to.
 
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