The Wat Phra Kaew Bangkok, also known as the Emerald Buddha Temple, adjoins the Grand Palace. These two places are known to be Bangkok’s greatest and biggest attractions for tourists. The temple compound is flooded with millions of tourists every year – you’ll spend half of your time avoiding other tourists’ photo ops! Nevertheless, it’s an amazing sight to see, regardless of its popularity.
The compound actually consists of more than just the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha Temple. There are almost 100 buildings, all colored brightly, with glittering mosaics and golden spires. This compound dates back to 1782, during the formation of what is known as Bangkok today.
Wat Phra’s main attraction – Emerald Buddha
While the temple itself is one of the biggest attractions in Thailand, it is also one of the most sacred and important temples in Bangkok. When you are inside the temple, there are certain rules and regulations that you have to follow. There are no compromises made on this front.
The statue of Emerald Buddha stands between 60-75 cms in height and is made of jade, not emerald. It is perched high up in a box made out of the glass; this makes it difficult to see the detailing of the statue. The statue depicts the Buddha sitting in the lotus position and is decorated beautifully during festivals and local occasions of Bangkok.
The statue was constructed during the 15th century and myth has it that it was root cause for many battles. It finally make Bangkok its home in 1782.
The statue is highly significant for the Thai people: the King personally changes the robe of the statue three times in the year, at the start of each season. Each season has a special robe. For the summers, the robe is gold and diamond-encrusted. For the winter, the robe is solid gold. During the monsoon season, the robe is a gilded monk.
The compound of the temple
The interior walls are round and depict various stories of the Jataka collection. These are stories that are based on the various lives or births of Buddha in the animal and human form. These stories are located inside the temples in the traditional conventions of the Thai culture. In ones that face the altar, you will find the depictions of Buddha’s victory over Mara, the evil demon. It shows how he achieved enlightenment after subduing her. When you are inside the Wat Phra Keo temple, you have to ensure that you take off your shoes before stepping forth the main building.
Although this temple holds a lot of significance for Thailand, it does not house any monks. The temple is surrounded by cloisters, which are decorated with the Thai tale of Ramakian, which is famously known as the Indian epic story of Lord Ram- The Ramayana. There are 178 sections in total and are dated to the time of King Mongkut. They were devised by Rama V and have been restored several times since.
Some other viewing pleasures through the mobile app
If you want to know more fascinating details about this place, all you have to do is download the mobile app, which gives you details and information about Bangkok’s true beauty. You can get information on:
- The golden statue that houses the ashes of the Buddha: the Phra Si Rattana Chedi
- The 7 Kings: the Royal Pantheon houses fully-sized statues of the first seven kings of the Chakri Dynasty.
- The mythical guardians: the Kinaree is half bird and half human, like the Garuda bird of Hinduism.
- The libraries in the temple: two libraries help protect the various literatures of Buddhism and hold a lot of importance. The libraries are impressive but often closed to the public.
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