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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The entrance to the Phra Viharn Luang (meeting hall) at Wat Suthat, one of the most important Buddhist temples in Bangkok

A wat (derived from the Sanskrit word Vattaka) is a monastery temple in Cambodia, Thailand, or Laos. The word "wat" (Khmer: វត្ត, Thai: วัด, sometimes rendered "vat" when referring to Laos) means "school."



Strictly speaking a wat is a Buddhist sacred precinct with monks' quarters, the temple proper, an edifice housing a large image of Buddha, and a structure for lessons. A Buddhist site without a minimum of three resident monks cannot correctly be described as a wat, although the term is frequently used more loosely, even for ruins of ancient temples. (As a transitive or intransitive verb, wat means to measure, to take measurements; compare templum, from which temple derives, having the same root as template.)

In Cambodia, a wat is used to refer to all kinds of places of worship. Technically, wat generally refers to a Buddhist place of worship, but the technical term is វត្តពុទ្ធសាសនា (wat pootasasna). A Christian church can be referred to either as វត្តយេស៊ូ (wat yeasu) or វិហារយេស៊ូ(vihear yeasu). Angkor Wat អង្ករវត្ត means city of temples.

In everyday language in Thailand, a wat is any place of worship except a mosque (Thai สุเหร่า - su-rao; or มัสยิด - Thai rendering of masjid; a mosque may also be described as โบสถ์ของอิสลาม - bot khong Is-a-lam). Thus wat cheen is a Chinese temple (either Buddhist or Taoist), wat khaek is a Hindu temple, and wat kris or wat krit or wat farang is a Christian church, though Thai โบสถ์ (โบด bot) may be used descriptively as with mosque.


A typical Buddhist wat consists of the following buildings:

  • chaidei or chedi (Khmer ចេតិយ), (Lanna: phrathāt), (Thai เจดีย์) (from Sanskrit: chaitya, temple) - usually conical or bell-shaped buildings, often containing relics of Buddha
  • vihear (Khmer វិហារ), (Lanna: wihān), viharn or wihaan (Thai วิหาร) from Sanskrit: vihara and Pali vihaan ) - a meeting and prayer room
  • mondop (Lanna: mondop), (Thai มณฑป) (from Sanskrit: Mandapa) - a usually open, square building with four arches and a pyramidal roof, used to worship religious texts or objects
  • sala (Khmer សាលា), (Lanna: sālā), (Thai ศาลา) (from Sanskrit: Shala - School, from an earlier meaning of shelter) - a pavilion for relaxation or miscellaneous activities
  • bot (Lanna: bōt), โบสถ์ or ubosoth อุโบสถ์ (from Pali uposatha) - the holiest prayer room, also called the "ordination hall" as it is where new monks take their vows. Architecturally it is similar to the vihara; the main differences are the eight cornerstones placed around the bot to ward off evil. The bot is usually more decorated than the viharn.
  • bibiloteca (Lanna: hōtham), (Thai หอไตร) - Tripitaka library where Buddhist scriptures are kept
  • drum tower (Lanna: hōkong), (Thai หอกลอง)
  • bell tower (Lanna: hōding), (Thai หอระฆัง)
  • multipurpose hall (Lanna: sālā), (Thai: ศาลาการเปรียญ, study hall) is a building in a wat. In the past this hall was only for monks to study in, as parian is a Pali word meaning 'educated monk' or 'monk student'.

The living quarters of the monks, including the กุฏิ (Lanna: kuti), (Thai กุติ kuti or กุด kut - monk cells) are separated from the sacred buildings.

The roofs of Thai temples are often adorned with chofahs.


Some well-known wats include:






Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also wat



Proper noun




  1. A medieval English given name, short for Walter.

See also


Simple English

WaT (ワット?) is a Japanese Pop duo. The members of the group are Wentz Eiji (ウエンツ瑛士) and Koike Teppei (小池徹平).

See Also

Other Websites

WaT Official Website

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