New Thai-Buddhist Temple brings crowds to residential Raynham - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

New Thai-Buddhist Temple brings crowds to residential Raynham

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By: Alexandra Cowley 

One day after a massive Thai–Buddhist temple opened in Raynham, the community is already seeing it's impact, both positive and negative. The Wat Nawamintararachutis Temple is breathtaking, the largest one outside of Thailand. It's sure to be a destination for tourists and passerby's, a bit of a concern for the residential neighborhood it now calls home .

You can't drive by without looking up, the steeple reaches 185 feet in the air. The size and beauty of the new Thai–Buddhist temple in Raynham, draws you in.

Richard and Anne Bragge were blown away by the beauty. They lived in Raynham for 30 years before moving to Cape Cod. 

"I think it's even grander, exceeded my expectations. The temple is just beautiful, the marble work, its peaceful," said the Bragges. 

The temple is the largest of its kind outside of Thailand, 110-thousand square feet, built in honor of the King of Thailand, who was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Raynham was the closest town they found that could accommodate the Temple's size.  It just had its grand opening on Sunday, 400 monks came to Raynham.

"It's just amazing, I don't know what to say I'm speechless," said Sam Maha, a former monk for 20-years. 

It's been in the works for over 10 years, construction began in 2011. The opening brought large crowds, creating some parking issues. Residents say buses of people were brought in. A much different scene than what they're used to.

"The whole concept is pretty nice, I just think it looks a little out of place in the neighborhood," explained Paul Silva. 

Silva has lived in the Pine Hill Estates neighborhood for 20 years.

Silva said, "I like the small really not busy rural type, but I guess it it what it is, you have to move with the times.

Some residents love the new culture right next door.

"We actually hope to visit it a bit more and maybe take part in the meditation. It's a good place, the guys have good hearts," said Johan Van Biljon 

Raynham town selectmen Joe Pacheco says the overall response has been positive, it just may take some time for the community to adjust.

"What's happened so far is what's going to continue to happen, and that's having respect for the temple and the temple's people. Moving forward I think they'll continue to be a good neighbor and we'll do everything we can to be a good host to them," explained Selectman Pacheco. 

The temple is a religious facility, so it will not have to pay taxes on the 60-million dollar building.

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