The Magnificent Buddhist Temple of Wat Phra Dhammakaya

Wat Phra Dhammakaya is a Buddhist temple of humongous size in Khlong Luang District, 16 kilometers north of Bangkok. It is the center of the controversial Dhammakaya Movement, a Buddhist sect founded in the 1970s, that has been attacked for its unconventional religious teachings and commercialization of Buddhism.

The unorthodox $1billion religious monument looks more like a spaceship, or a sports stadium or even a UFO rather than resembling a traditional Thai temple.

At the center of the structure is a huge dome (the Dhammakaya Cetiya) covered with 300,000 gold-coated bronze statues of Buddha -- another 700,000 are nestled inside the temple. The golden dome is the Memorial Hall of the sect’s founder, Phramonkolthepmuni. This is surrounded by a massive circular concrete platform which functions as the Meditation Amphitheatre. The entire complex is located on a thousand-acres piece of land.
Mass rituals and meditations are held everyday, helped by thousands of volunteers. During Sundays and major religious festivals, nearly 100,000 worshippers congregate at the complex. Already a community of 3,000 monks, novices, laymen and laywomen live within Wat Phra Dhammakaya making it the largest temple in Thailand in terms of inhabitants.