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Bot_of_Wat_Kuu_Kham,_Thailand-KayEss-1.jpeg
Inside of the bot at Wat Chedi Liem near Chiang Mai in Thailand
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Wat_Bangkok_Thailand.jpg
A Wat in Bangkok

A wat is a Cambodian, Lao or Thai Hindu or Buddhist temple. They are considered a source for Buddhist spiritualism.

Wats have a distinct architectural tradition. Sites of famous historical wats include:

A more modern example of a wat is Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok.

A typical Buddhist wat consists of the following buildings:

  • chedi - usually conical or bell-shaped buildings, often containing relics of Buddha;
  • viharn or wihaan (from Sanskrit: vihara) - a meeting and prayer room;
  • mondhop - the library;
  • sala (from Portuguese for "hall") - a pavilion for relaxation or miscellaneous activities;
  • bot - the most holy prayer room, also called the "ordination hall" as it is where new monks take their vows. Architecturally it is similar to the viharn; the main differences are the eight cornerstones placed around the bot to ward off evil. The bot is usually more decorated than the viharn.

The living quarters of the monks are separated from the sacred buildings.

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Monk's_quarters_at_Wat_Thep_Nimit-KayEss-1.jpeg
Monk's quarters at Wat Thep Nimit in Bangkok
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