Bangkok has some cultural oddities, perhaps none more so than Wat Hua Krabeu, or Temple of the Buffalo Heads, where a monk's penchant for collecting has become somewhat of a crusade. The temple first... Read More
Bangkok has some cultural oddities, perhaps none more so than Wat Hua Krabeu, or Temple of the Buffalo Heads, where a monk's penchant for collecting has become somewhat of a crusade. The temple first became famous due to the rather eccentric abbot, Phra Khru Wiboonpattankit, who made national headlines several years ago when he began collecting hundreds of old Mercedes Benz limousines and turned the wat into a classic auto museum.
The latest project at Hua Krabeu has become the creation of a memorial to the Asian water buffalo, which is in danger of becoming extinct. Since 1987, the water buffalo population in Thailand has decreased from 6 million to less than 2 million, as farming became mechanized and buffalo meat became a prized delicacy, with 400,000 buffaloes being slaughtered for their flesh each year. wants to create a shrine to the beasts before they disappear, and has planned to erect a two story structure full of memorabilia that will serve as a memorial to the buffalo, reached by passing through a tunnel made entirely of buffalo skulls!
Initially, a few villagers left skulls at the temple in memory of their deceased buffaloes, and as the abbot progressed with his memorial idea, he asked others to donate skulls whenever their animals died. Realizing that he needed more skulls for his shrine, the abbot has taken to asking for cash donations with which to buy skulls from slaughterhouses, and his collection has now grown to over 8000, many of which are fully preserved head and horns.