This is a ‘picture-guide book’ because it combines pictures from 47 temple-caves with brief descriptions and directions incl. latitude and longitude of all together some 482 temple-caves in Thailand (of which 160 are classified as possible). The book covers all 76 (77 with Bangkok) provinces separated in to five regions.
Temple-caves are spiritual sites of worship (prayer and/or meditation) in caves, grottoes or rock-shelters.Temple-caves [also termed cave temples] (large), Grottoes (Small) and rock shelters/overhangs are on the one hand amazing natural phenomena, as in beautifully decorated (sculptured and carved) rock chambers and passages inside hills and mountains and on the other hand they have spiritual and religious context as ornamented and decorated sites for prayer, meditation and as shrines – for worship.
Temple-caves are important places of cultural, religious and historical value. Temple-caves tie the present and past together. Many temple-caves have extensive decorations, carvings/reliefs, painted images and statues and figures of Buddha and other Deities. Others are simpler temple-caves with much less ornamentation.
Some temple-caves are Wats (Thai Buddhist temples) in themselves with residing monks and teaching for novices, others again are used as temporary resting places for wandering monks or during KhaoPansa, the three month rainy period from August to October when monks are required to stay in one place, and some are hermit caves with only one monk residing while others are simply places of worship.
Caves with a Buddha or other religious or animistic/spiritual figure or a spirit house mainly to ward off ‘bad spirits’ or protect visitors to me are not temple-caves. A temple-cave is a cave with a clear spiritual or religious worship context – a place for prayer or meditation.