PJ’s beautiful Thai Buddhist temple, Wat Chetawan

The main shrine of Wat Chetwawan, and the stairs that lead to it.

The Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple, more commonly known as Wat Chetawan, is located in the heart of Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur’s thriving satellite city.

The idea to build a Thai-style temple in Petaling Jaya was first mooted in 1956 when the new town of PJ was just in its infancy.

Statues of the Buddha line the walls of the main shrine.

With generous support from many donors including, most notably, King Bhumipol of Thailand, the main hall was completed in 1962 and officially opened by the Thai monarch and his wife.

The Brahma Pavilion that stands on the grounds of Wat Chetawan.

Various new halls, shrines and pavilions have been added in the decades since and now the temple complex includes a monastery, meditation hall and columbarium.

The temple’s management seems quite adept at finding ways to earn revenue to cover the upkeep of the complex.

An assortment of amulets sold at Wat Chetawan’s gift shop.

There is a gift shop selling amulets, prayer beads, statues and other Buddhist paraphernalia.

There is even a herbal sauna which, according to the sign outside, can relieve lumbago, rheumatism, diabetes and “body fat” among other complaints.

The herbal sauna which is accessible to all members of the public.

One of the top earners must be the columbarium where devotees can intern the ashes of their loved ones.

Apparently, the cost of a single urn compartment is RM12,800 while a double compartment (for husband and wife) costs RM23,000.

The columbarium of Wat Chetawan where urns containing ashes of the departed are kept.

The temple’s website does not make it clear if that payment is for a fixed period of years or in perpetuity.

Probably the former, since there would be running costs for cleaning, lighting, air-conditioning and maintenance.

Round the corner is Taman Jaya and the Petaling Jaya Museum, also worth a quick visit.

Opening hours: 7am-9.30pm
Address: No. 24, Jalan Pantai, Off Jalan Gasing, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Contact: +603-79552443

This article first appeared on thriftytraveller.wordpress.com