Intro to Hell
Published/Last edited or updated: 26th May, 2016
Upon arrival, Wat Tham Ta Pan seems to be a typically placid Buddhist temple, but once you meet the dragon’s mouth the scene quickly changes. The large dragon tunnel leads down to an area that’s been designed to resemble Hell, with several tortuous scenes being played out in statue dioramas. Some of the statues are animals or mythical beings meting out punishments while others depict humans with hideous injuries and deformities.
We’ll spare you the grisly details, but the Hell scenes are disturbing and not recommended for children. The mouth of the cave sits just past Hell, with a merit-making shrine at the entrance and a series of pathways and bridges over streams leading deep inside the cavern. The walk to the end takes about 5-10 minutes, where a meditation mat and small Buddha statues are set. Some florescent lights are strung along the path but it’s still dark, and somewhat spooky, in places so bringing a torch is recommended.
The temple gardens are a more serene, and kid-friendly, place to wander around, with many more statues to see: a colourful mix of Hindu gods and goddesses set up a steep rock face, a row of seated monk statues, plus various warrior gods atop animals. Steep steps lead up to a chedi. Entry is free but donations are welcome.
Lana Willocks is a freelance writer from Canada based in Phuket. Her love affair with Thailand began on a university exchange programme in Bangkok, then she returned to Phuket on the auspicious date of 9-9-1999 and never left.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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