House of Virgin Mary

House of Virgin Mary
Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her house exterior.

Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her house exterior.

The House of the Virgin (Meryemana in Turkish), located in a nature park between Ephesus and Seljuk, is believed to be the last residence of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. The peaceful site is sacred to both Catholics  and Muslims, (Muslims also believe in the virgin birth and honor Mary as the mother of the Prophet Jesus and given the emphasis placed on the Virgin Mary in the Qur’an.) and is visited by many tourists and pilgrims.

Catholic tradition associates Mary with Ephesus because at the time of his death, Jesus put Mary in the care of John, who then spent many years spreading Christianity in this region. 

The house was discovered in the 19th century by following the descriptions in the reported visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774–1824), a Roman Catholic nun and visionary, which were published as a book by Clemens Brentano  after her death, Following the book’s publication, ruins of a house were discovered at the present site and declared to be the house where Mary had lived the final years of her life. Known as the Panaya Kapula (‘Doorway to the Virgin’), the site has been a much venerated pilgrimage destination since the late 1880

The shrine itself is not extensively large, but may rather be described as a modest chapel. Upon entrance to the chapel, a pilgrim is met by one single large room where an altar along with a large statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is prominently displayed in the center. The small, T-shaped stone building consists of a bedroom on the right side — traditionally associated with the actual room where the Virgin Mary is believed to have slept, and a kitchen (on the left). The interior is kept simple and austere, fitted only with an altar, images of Mary and candles.

Some visitors choose to kneel in front of the alter instead. The alter has a small statue of Mary surrounded by colourful bouquets of flowers. Photography is not allowed inside the chapel.

Photo © Ephesus Guide.

Photo © Ephesus Guide.

Photo © Ephesus Guide.

Photo © Ephesus Guide.




The spring  is found at the exit of the church , a rather salt water, and can be drunk and is believed to have miraculous powers of healing or fertility, and many miracles have been reported. Inside the house are crutches and canes said to be left behind by those who were healed by the sacred spring.


The most amazing was the  wishing wall which pilgrims have used by tying their personal intension on thousands of scraps of paper or fabric, and photos


A liturgical ceremony is held here each year on August 15, Catholics and Muslims gather at the shrine to commemorate the Assumption of Mary.

 The Roman Catholic Church has never pronounced on the authenticity of the house, for lack of scientifically acceptable evidence. It has, however, from the blessing of the first pilgrimage by Pop Leo XIII in 1896, taken a positive attitude towards the site. Pope Pius XII in 1951, following the definition of the dogma of the Assumption in 1950, elevated the house to the status of a holy place, a privilege later made permanent by Pope John XXIII, and the most recent in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI

Photo © Ephesus Guide.

Photo © Ephesus Guide.


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Hill tribe Chiang Rai

Hill tribe Chiang Rai

This villages were located at northern most province of Thailand, near Chiang Rai approximately 830 km from Bangkok. Chiang Rai is known as the “Gateway to the Golden Triangle” – the meeting point of Thailand, Burma and Laos.
There are 5 hilltribe villages with more than 200 villagers living on this village. Ahka tribe, Long Neck Karen, Lahu (Muser) Tribe, Iu Mien, Palong(Big earring) tribe .

We have to pay  entrance fee 300baht per person

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The Ahka women wear black dresses and headgear richly embroided and decorate with silver coinc, beads and beaten silver jewellery. People are shy and clannish and settle at high attitudes. They often retain animistic convictions and protect their homes with altars, Fertility symbols, totems,etc, to ward off evil spirits. Gradually all the tribes are assimilating Thai culture through trade contact and Education in settlement schools. They sold handicraft and very cooperative to photoed, I Like took photograph of this old lady, her smile is so nice.

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Long Neck Karen
Legend claims that the brass rings protect the women from tiger bites. Others have reported that it is done to make the women unattractive so they are less likely to be captured by slave traders. The most common explanation, though, is the opposite of this — that an extra-long neck is considered a sign of great beauty and wealth and that it will attract a better husband. But actually the practice of wearing them helps maintain individual and tribal identity. The women wear rings on neck, arms and legs, they weave the fabric and sell to the tourist.

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A Long neck woman sell handicraft, and play guitar

A Long neck woman sell handicraft, and play guitar

a child care is available, i am interested at the thai letter,

a child care is available, i am interested at the thai letter,

The Lahu divide themselves into a number of subgroups, such as the Lahu Na (Black Lahu), Lahu Nyi (Red Lahu), Lahu Hpu (White Lahu), Lahu Shi (Yellow Lahu) and the Lahu Shehleh. Where a subgroup name refers to a color, it refers to the traditional color of their dress. These groups do not function as tribes or clans – there are no kin groups above that of the family.
The traditional Lahu religion is polytheistic. Buddhism was introduced in the late 1600s and became widespread. Many Lahu in China are Christians. Christianity became established in Burma in the 1800s and has been spreading since. They showed a tradtional dance with traditional music instrument, but my focus was the picture on the center, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. And they asked for some donation after the dance.

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DSC_7062a DSC_7065Iu Mien
For the past 2000 years, the records show that the Mien lived in the surrounding mountains near Tibet. The Mien moved constantly because they did not like the controlling ruling from the Han.

Palong (Big Earing)
The Palong (Palaung) who live in Thailand came from Myanmar (Burma). It is likely they originated in Southern China and migrated to Myanmar.



To visit or NOT?
Some people don’t want to visit this union tribe. There is entrance fee about 300 Baht per person to look these tribes, it’s like visiting zoo, Human Zoo, the tribes do singing and dancing, dressed up, just to ask for some donation, because this “villages” is set up for tourists, and are not natural, they have been allegations of imprisonment, and ill treatment by management of the villages, I saw a mother forced a child to get dress up and do some make up for the tourist, and the child is crying because she doesn’t want to, but she smile when i took photograph of her


I saw the tribes dance and sing just for the donation, they looked bored. The ladies forced the tourist to buy handicrafts in exchange of taking their photography.
On the contrary,
While the villages have been set up, it is where these ladies (and families) live, we can see different tribes just visit one villages, these tribes make a good living from visitors. The average wage for a days hard laboring in the fields is around 150 Baht. These ladies can earn more than that with relatively little effort. The souvenirs and handicrafts are nice and cheap. Many younger girls wearing rings and traditional custom, so it will do for the next generation. The ladies look absolutely stunning, great memories and great photographs.
For me, i enjoy my time in this villages, some of the older lady smile and look very nice with their traditional custom, and i gave them some money,and buy some handicrafts, and they looked happy. As long as there are no violence and coercion, and they do willingly, it is not a mistake to visit this village.



Posted by on September 4, 2013 in culture, nature, photo, photography, thailand, travel


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Wat Rong Khun, วัดร่องขุ่น ~ Thailand

Wat Rong Khun, วัดร่องขุ่น ~ Thailand

is known as White Temple is situated  about thirteen kilometers south of Chiang Rai, very near to Myanmar. Different from other temple. It is covered with combination of whitewash and tiny mirror chips that make it shine.

It  was built by artist, Ajarn Chalermchai Kositpipat. He  together with more than 60 followers devoted totally their effort and energy to make this structure their life work created this temple with his freedom, not under anybody’s influence or thought processes, so he did not accept donating from any sources including government

The artist used white color to represent Buddha’s purity while the mirrors symbolize Buddha’s dhamma, teaching men to observe their own mind and reflect kindness towards others.


Before entering the temple grounds, morbid and spooky statues and hanging heads welcome the new visitor. Skeletons and Demons warn the visitor about the dangers of Alcohol and Smoking.DSC_6937 DSC_6935


The whole architecture as well as the statues all around have been carefully studied and are imbued with riddles, teachings and Buddhist philosophy.


The Temple is surrounded by a pond with dozens of white and black fish guarded by dragons and fantastic mythological creatures.

surrounded by the pond

surrounded by the pond

Before crossing the bridge of the “Cycle of Rebirth”, we cannot prevent getting the chills gazing upon the hundreds of sculpted hands reaching up from “Hell”, symbolizing the way to happiness through overcoming cravings.




Twisted demon faces observe and mock the visitor as he prepares to purge his soul from cravings.

After crossing the Bridge, the visitor reaches the temple, the Abode of Buddha.


Although still unfinished, the paintings on the walls inside represent a mix of traditional Thai Buddhist art and contemporary scenes like a plane crashing into the twin towers, the war for Oil, many movie/comics characters like Neo, Batman, Doraemon, Kungfu Panda,  Superman and Star Wars droids. All superheroes painted to let people know that there really are no heroes in our world. so many morality declines , the world become ill , people lack moral standard. that is why Ajarn Chalermchai portray evil people as the demon with mouth opened encircled the entrance of the temple. Too bad photography inside the temple was not allowed . so I scan a view photos from guiding book.

scanned from white temple guiding book

scanned from white temple guiding book

scanned from white temple guiding book

scanned from white temple guiding book

scanned from white temple guiding book

scanned from white temple guiding book

scanned from white temple guiding book

scanned from white temple guiding book

scanned from white temple guiding book

scanned from white temple guiding book

When visitors walked out, they feel they leave the demon behind and going towards the highest level of dhamma, where people will not reborn, to meet the Lord Buddha at the edge of the universe.

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Next to the white temple, on the other side of the pond, is also a the “Gharavasa” (the layman quarters) where an Art gallery, a preaching hall and a “golden toilet” are located, I think that is the most beautiful public restroom, and free to enter and admire, many people took photo of themselves in front of this toilet.



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The temple-like building is supposed to represent the Body (as opposed to the white temple that represents the Mind). Charlemchai built the two bots (white and gold) in hope to teach people to let go and not cling to substance or money, and not to perceive the physical body as an assumed identity.

Ajarn Chalermchai builds this  temple is different from other temples that are golden. He believes that gold is suitable to people who lust for evil deeds. The Lord Buddha represent purity, and he use small mirrors throughout  the building is symbol of wisdom (Dharma) that shines throughout the universe.

“I want to build a heavenly garden (happiness) for humans to stroll in. I want all visitors of whatever religion to have feeling of peace, happiness and at the same time get to understand the meaning of Buddhism that can be seen all over the temple whether it’s in the architectural, the drawings , or the molding works” said Ajarn Chalermchai

Whether or not his message will reach visitors’ soul, Wat Rong Khun is scheduled to be completed by 2070 , remains one of the most unusual and interesting places of worship I have ever visited.

When it is completed, Wat Rong Khun will be a symbol to one man’s dedication to his country, his religion, and his present King, with a deep meaning behind every statue, corner or architectural design representing the wild creativity and vision. one day, it will also became a heritage of the world.

” I discipline the mind to train me toward being a good person with clear thinking, speaking well, and doing good deeds, We are all human, and I want to give goodness to people. If we have love and forgiveness in our hearts, it will come out naturally. You need to practice patience before you can control your own mind.” said Ajarn Chalermchai.




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Meklong train market (ตลาดแม่กลอง)

Meklong train market (ตลาดแม่กลอง)

It’s 5 to 9 as  I arrived at Maeklong train station, I saw that next the train would arrive at 9.40, so I decided to take a walk along the railway,


There are so many food stall, and many people sit and talk to their friends, read newspaper, just like common morning activities



Across the street there is a market
It looked like an ordinary Thai market , many tropical fruits and vegetables were in big brightly colored piles, varieties of chili pastes and herbs were abounding,
Thai dishes were freshly prepared, many varieties of fish, and beautiful lady sell flowers, the usual crowds were moseying around.







Suddenly sound of whistle is heard,and soon market dwellers turned on their alerted faces.
Everybody began to take position at the side of the railway, vendors roll back their produce, moved the fruits on the ground a little bit far from the track, and undo the awning, some of them help others to get ready.





And… the train nose peeked
around the curve and proceeded to chug straight into the market, brushing stalls and fruits with inches to spare.
No time to do about their stuff, like a fruit seller, he pointed to his rambutans, feeling worried the train would crush them, but he just sit back and saw the train come closer and closer…






As the last train car rolled through, the market unfolded in a magical display. vendors organize their produce back, very near to the track.
Within seconds the market was thriving once again and as if there is nothing extraordinary had happened.




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