Just off Highway 99 in Stockton, you’ll find one of the most serene and picturesque spots in the area: The Stockton Buddhist Temple, where you can walk through the story of Buddha’s life as told through giant, colorful statues.
If you’re not Buddhist, you may not think to visit such a temple. But regardless of religion, the art and grandeur of these statues is worth a visit.
The temple is sort of a hidden gem, and many locals don’t even know it exists. The church keeps the gates open every day during daylight, and visitors are welcome to roam the grounds.
The grounds are quiet, unless you arrive when monks are meeting and you can hear their chants through the open doors.
There are more than 90 colorful jewel-encrusted statues that tell the story of the Cambodian Buddha. The largest statue is a recumbent Buddha that lays 50-feet-long.
The temple was created in the early 1980s, after Southeast Asian refugees settled in Stockton. They struggled to integrate into the local culture, but formed an association together on Carpenter Road, where they built the Khmer Theravada Buddhist Monastery.
As you walk through the gardens, you will see a story depicted, from the birth of Buddha to the point where he rests as he leaves earth for Nirvana.
The facility is run by monks, volunteers and donations.