I was wandering around Wimbledon (London, UK) and came across this incredible temple. It was like being in Thailand in the middle of England. The good thing was that I didn’t have to fly all the way to Southeast Asia to contemplate this beautiful building – just hop on the London underground!
Wat Buddhapadipa or the Buddhapadipa Temple is a Thai Buddhist temple in Wimbledon, London. It was the first such temple to be built in the United Kingdom. It is home to monks and nuns, but welcomes visitors of any faith to view the grounds and temple, as long as they are respectful.
Inside the temple hall, the walls are covered with paintings showing the life of the Buddha—from his birth to his death. There are pictures of his birth in Lumbini (Nepal), his renunciation, his enlightenment, and finally his death. The murals were painted by artists Chalermchai Kositpipat and Panya Vijinthanasarn in a surreal style using brilliant colors that, at first glance, seems very unlike classical Thai painting. However, they revive the tendency found in traditional Thai mural paintings to situate episodes from Buddhist myth in scenes populated with figures and objects from contemporary life.
There is a little garden around the temple with a lake, and some Buddhist inscriptions on little plaques which you can see, as you walk around.
This was a perfect Sunday walk. I learned a little bit about the temple and Buddhist enlightenment. If you came to London don’t miss out on visiting this amazing temple!