Monday, 10 December 2018

Thai Temples

As Thailand is a Buddhist country, there are a great number of wats (temples) in the country, most of which are interesting for foreigners to visit. Listed below are some large and important temples in Bangkok that are recommended to be included in your itinerary.

However, when visiting a temple, please pay heed to the following: Disrespect towards Buddha images, temples or monks is an offence. Shorts or sleeveless shirts are considered improper dress for both men and women. Ladies must not on any account touch a Buddhist monk, give things direct to him or receive things direct from him. And take off your shoes before entering the main temple.

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha located in the Grand Palace is an important Buddhist temple in Thailand which is famous for the highly revered Emeral Buddha image, the world's longest murals and numerous interesting sculptures such as fanciful mythical animals and fierce-looking giants standing guard at the gates.

The most prominiet feature on the west bank of the Chao Phraya river is the Temple of Dawn. Its striking prangs (a kind of pagoda) decorated with millions of pieces of Chinese porcelain have long been known among foreigners as one of Bangkok's landmarks. The tallest prang allows visitors to climb up to enjoy scenic views of the river and the old town, including the Grand Palace.

The famous colossal reclining Buddha statue decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay at its soles is enshrined in this oldest and biggest temple in Bangkok. It is also recognised as the first open university in Thailand and nowadays it is perhaps best known for its Thai traditional massage school.

Graceful and transquil as its main chapel is made of white carrara Italian marble, the Marble Temple is one of the most modern religious buildings that employs European ecclesiastical details. It houses a replica of Thailand's most beautiful Buddha image and exhibits 53 other famous image styles from all over Asia.

Located in the chinatown area, this temple houses the 700 years old world's largest solid Buddha image (3-metre tall and 5.5 tonne in weight). It was a plain stucco Buddha image when discovered in 1955. 20 years later it was accidently cracked and revealed the precious material inside.

Wat Suthat is a good place to see the blend of Thai art and Chinese art. The main features include a 14th century large cast bronze presiding Buddha, the beautiful murals in the main building, and splendid carving door leaves. In front of the temple is the Giant Swing which was riden during Brahman ceremonies since the establishment of Bangkok until 1935.

The Golden Mount is an artificial hill (77 metres in height) with a large golden pagoda on top. Climbing up the spiral staircases, it offers a panoramic view of Bangkok including the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha, the Temple of Reclining Buddha and the Temple of Dawn.

This old temple formerly named Wat Bangwayai was built in the Ayutthaya period. During the renovation in the reign of King Rama I, a sonorous rakhang or bell was found in the temple compound.

Situated across the street from Wat Phra Kaeo, Wat Mahathat was built in the reign of King Rama I and houses one of Thailand's two Buddhist universities. The International Buddhist Meditation Center is also situated in the temple.

Photo : www.watmahathat.com

Wat Thepthidaram was built between 1836 and 1839 by command of King Rama III. The exquisite designs in this temple constitute the four directional Stupas created by court artisans and the mural paintings on the walls of the main temple.

This royal temple was built in the reign of King Rama III in 1846. It is famous for its Loha Prasat (Metal Castle) standing to the west of the main temple. This is the only one of its kind left in the world.

Constructed in the reign of King Rama V, this temple is a combination of Thai and western architectural styles. Its striking features are the temple hall and the pagoda decorated with five-colour (or benjarong) ceramics.

Photo : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wat_Ratchabophit

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