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Temple of a Million Bottles

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What do you do with your old glass bottles? Do you recycle? Do you sell them back at five cents a bottle? Or do you build a monumental, gorgeous work of art? The monks of Sisaket province, Thailand, decided to choose the third answer. Welcome to Wat Lan Kuad, or Temple of a Million Glass Bottles.

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Situated roughly 370 miles northeast of Bangkok is the Wat Pa Maha Chedio KaewSisaket temple, nicknamed Wat Kuan Lad, which literally translates to “Temple of a Million Glass Bottles.” That's because everything in the temple–and we mean everything–incorporates glass bottles.

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From the outside of the temple, to the surrounding shelters; from the toilets, to the crematorium, literally everything in the temple is constructed from the ubiquitous bottles. (This beats the tower of beer bottles my roommates refused to take down from our kitchen table in college, by a long shot.)

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Although seemingly fragile, the beer bottles are a surprisingly efficient building material: easy to clean, and sustainable, they let light in and their colors don't fade. So ironically, (or fittingly, depending) the glass bottle temple is not only ecologically sound, but also a building of extraordinary beauty.

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And not part of the bottle goes to waste: even the bottle caps are incorporated into the building in the form of a beautiful mosaic. Talk about practicing what you preach.

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The monks started collecting bottles back in 1984, to decorate their shelters. Once visitors saw the awesomeness of the monks' initial decorations, they started bringing more bottles to the temple, adding on until they reached today's current total of more than a million. A little something to think about while you're cleaning up from your next party. MR

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  • Kam

    March 11, 2009

    This looks awesome!
    Anyone have an idea how far it is from Chiang-Mai?

  • James

    December 6, 2008

    the green ones are Kloster-Brauerei, the brown ones in the last picture are Thai-whiskey. . .
    I guess it could be Heinekens, but when I make a temple out of used beer bottles i like to make them out of local beers i like, just keeping it green. I was thinking of Earthships, when I saw this as well.

  • Monika

    December 2, 2008

    i believe this is the one that was made with heineken bottles for the green and bottles from a local beer brewery for the brown– just an interesting tidbit. it’s beautiful!

  • Roshan

    November 26, 2008

    What an inspiring idea – have you seen the glass walls they do in Earthships? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:PHOENIXBATH.jpg
    and
    http://www.been-seen.com/article.cfm?id=10358

Any comments?