Wat Arun Bangkok
Wat Arun also known as Wat Makok, after the village of Bang Makok in Thai for the Spondias pinnata plant.) According to the historian Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, the temple was shown in French maps during the reign of King Narai (1656–1688). The temple was renamed Wat Chaeng by King Taksin when he established his new capital of Thonburi near the temple, following the fall of Ayutthaya. During one dawn Taksin saw this wat in depleting state and vowed to maintain it. And after it was called Wat Dawn. The temple enshrined the Emerald Buddha image before it was transferred to Wat Phra Kaew on the river's eastern bank in 1785.
The temple was located in the royal palace during Taksin's reign, before his successor, Rama I, moved the palace to the other side of the river. It was abandoned until Rama II, who restored the temple and extended the pagoda to 70m.
The main feature of Wat Arun is its central prang (Khmer-style tower) which are encrusted with colourful porcelain. The corners are surrounded by four smaller prang. The prang are decorated by seashells and bits of porcelain from China. The presiding Buddha image, cast in the reign of Rama II, is said to have been moulded by the king himself. The ashes of King Rama II are interred in the base of the image.
Construction of the tall prang and four smaller ones was started by King Rama II during 1809-1824 and completed by King Rama III (1824–1851). The towers are supported by rows of demons and monkeys. Very steep and narrow steps lead to a balcony high on the central tower. The circumference of the base of the structure is 234 meters, and the central prang is 250 feet high.
The central prang is topped with a seven-pronged trident, "Trident of Shiva". At the base of the prang are various figures of ancient Chinese soldiers and animals. Over the second terrace are four statues of the Hindu god Indra riding on Erawan. At the riverside are six pavilions in Chinese style. The pavilions are made of green granite and contain landing bridges.
There are two demons, or temple guardian figures, in front. The murals were created during the reign of Rama V.Related to:
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Grand Palace Bangkok
If you start your Thailand trip from Bangkok then make it Two days first and last two days. The first two will allow you to visit Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho and take a boat to Wat Arun. For a budget traveler and if you happen to choose Kao San Road for your lodging then head to Chak Kraphong Road and head west and you will see a big field (Ratchadamnoen Nai Road) about 2 km or just hail a Tuk Tuk Bht 50-60. Plan this trip early, 8.00 am, wear long pant or knee length skirt with sleeve shirt or blouse. Entrance cost Bht 400. to the Grand Palace, incl. Queen Sirkit Museum of Textiles, Emerald Buddha, Vimanmek Mansion Museum, Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall, Sanam Chandra Palace. (For the Grand Palace is one time entry only and the rest within 7 days from issue date. You can also visit Wat Pho (Sleeping Buddha) just in front of the way to the pier.
After the Grand Palace just walk to the Pier just around the West side of the Palace called Tha Tien to Wat Arun.
In Grand Palace there are 10 must see place in the Palace.
1). The Grand Palace Complex
It was established in 1782 and consists of Royal residence & throne hall. King Rama I (Chao Phraya Chakri) ascended to the throne in 1782. others important places in the complex are Dusit Maha Prasat Throne and Phra Maha Monthian.
2). Royal Monastery of Emerald Buddha
The most venerated site in Thailand. This Green Jade Buddha was first discovered in 1434 in the stupa in Chiang Rai in which was covered with plaster. The Emerald Buddha was enshrined in Loas Capital for 226 years until 1778 when King Rama I captured Vientiane and bring back the Emerald Buddha to Bangkok.
3). The Upper Terrace
There are four monuments in the Upper Terrace, Golden Chedi, The Mondop, The Royal Pantheon, Miniature Angkor Wat.
4). Scripture Library (Upper Terrace)
Hor Phra Monthian Dharma, Phra Viharn Yod, Hor Phra Naga (Royal Family Ashes)
This galleries has pictures & story of the passed Kings.
6). The Phra Maha Monthian Group Temples.
There are Royal Bedchamber, Reception Chamber, and Royal Regalia.
7).The Chakri Temple
Central Throne Hall, there are four notable painting a) King Mongkut's reception of the British envoy, Sir James Bowring. b) reception of Queen Victoria of King Mongkut at Buckingham Palace. c) Louis XIV's reception of Gallerie des Glaces at Versailles. d) King Mongkut's reception at Fontainbleau by Emperor Napoleon III.
8). Dusit Temple.
This temple was used for Coronation Day.
9). Borom Phiman Mansion
The western style building built in 1903 by King Rama V, and function as a Royal Guest House.
10). Queen Sirikit Textiles Museum
This is the latest addition to the Royal Palace, and open to public in spring 2012.
After two or three days in Bangkok, head north to Chiang Mai for your Northern Thailand exploration, and escape the pollution & heat of BangkokRelated to:
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Wat Lok Molee Most over look Wat
Wat Lok Molee was most neglected in the tourism of Chiang Mai or even Thailand. I feel this is one of the most beautiful wat you can find in Chiang Mai. Even the actual record did not mentioned when was it built. The earliest date you can find regarding this wat is in 1367, when King Mengrai invited a group of ten monks from Burma to share their study and practice of Buddhism to the Lanna Kingkom and they were sheltered in this wat.
After a lengthy stay in this wat, Phra Kaew Muang order a chedi to be built in 1527 and the main hall was built in 1545.
The record shows that ashes of King Mengrai families was place in the wat during King Mengrai period and was also maintain by the King until the end of King Mengrai dynasty.
If you happen to visit this wat, look at the main carving it deplete the Ku Ma (Horse) and Ku Chang (Elephant) which was during Queen Chamadevi period in 755 AD.
This wat was decorated with a unique style on top of the main hall and the chedi are different from most wat in Chiang Mai. I also found the this wat house a "four face buddha" and a Chinese style Buddha which is very rare in Chiang Mai.
And for those married woman whom has no child and love to have one, she can go to this wat to pray to the little buddha for the buddha blessing, it is very popular to the local.Related to:
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Bangkok - Wat Pho
Wat Pho temple lies in central Bangkok on the left bank of the Chao Phraya river, just a ferry ride from the Wat Arun temple across the river.
There are several buildings in the temple complex and one of these hosts the large Reclining Buddha gilded statue (Phra Buddhasaiyas) visible for a 100-Baht admission fee.
Length of the statue, per different sources, is indicated to be 43 or 46 meters (141 or 150 ft.).
Expect plenty of visitors and consider enough time to visit the other wonderful buildings in the complex.Related to:
The Chao Phraya River
The rivers and tributaries that flow down from Thailand's northern mountains, which are the southernmost outliers of the Tibetan Plateau, drain into the Gulf of Thailand via the Chao Phraya River. Throughout Thai history, this river has served as a major route for trade, commerce, and invading armies. Important historical cities such as Ayutthaya, and present-day cities such as Bangkok, grew up along the banks of the Chao Phraya River.
Nowadays, the river is still a busy artery for commerce, especially in and around Bangkok, as evidenced by the numerous water taxis, barges, ferries, express boats, and long-tailed boats that seem to cause traffic jams on the water. In addition, many important buildings, such as the wat pictured here, line the banks of the river.
The Chao Phraya River is the largest river situated entirely within the borders of Thailand. (The Mekong River is much larger, but it forms part of the border between Thailand and Laos before flowing into Cambodia). Its watershed drains an area of about 60,975 square miles (157,924 square kilmeters), which makes up about 35 percent of the country's land.
The river begins at the confluence of the Ping and Nan rivers at Nakhon Sawan, and flows south 231 miles (372 kilometers) from the central plains, through Bangkok, and empties into the Gulf of Thailand. In Chainat, north of Bangkok, the river splits into the main river channel and the Tha Chin River, which flows parallel to the main river and empties into the Gulf of Thailand about 22 miles (35 kilometers) west of Bangkok.
The Golden Buddha
Officially called Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon, the Golden Buddha is the centerpiece of Wat Trimit. At five tons (4,536 kilograms), it is the world's largest and heaviest solid gold object, and is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The image's gold is 40 percent pure from the base up to the neck, 80 percent pure from the chin to the forehead, and the hair and topknot are 99 percent pure.
The Golden Buddha was probably forged sometime during the Sukhothai period between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in the Kingdom of Sukhothai. It was moved to the emerging Kingdom of Ayutthaya around 1403, and was later completely covered with a coating of plaster stucco to keep it from being stolen, and then it was painted. Ayutthaya was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767, but they failed to find the golden treasure hidden inside its stucco disguise.
In 1801, after King Rama I had established his capital at Bangkok, he ordered that various old Buddha images be brought to the new capital to be placed in the numerous new temples that had been constructed there. The Golden Buddha was therefore moved to Bangkok where it remained in obscurity for many decades. During the reign of King Rama III, the Golden Buddha was placed in Wat Chotanoram, but Wat Chotanoram eventully fell into disrepair and was closed. The Golden Buddha was then moved to Wat Trimit in 1935. However, the wat did not have a room big enough for the image, so it sat outdoors under a tin roof for 20 years.
Wat Trimit was renovated and expanded in 1955, and it finally had room for the large Buddha statue. When it was being placed in its new temple, the Golden Buddha was finally discovered. Because of its great weight, the sling being used to move the statue snapped, and it fell to the ground. The stucco cracked, revealing the golden image inside.
Wat Trimit, variously written in English as Wat Trimitr, Wat Traimit, and Wat Traimitr, among others, is a Buddhist wat located in Bangkok's Chinatown. It is often referred to as the Temple of the Golden Buddha because it houses the Golden Buddha, the world's largest solid gold object. (See my tip on the Golden Buddha for more information).
What is now Wat Trimit was built in 1939 and was originally called Wat Sam Chin, which means "Three Chinese Temple", because three Chinese men donated money and property toward the construction of the wat. The name was changed in 1956 when it became a royal temple.
If it were not for the Golden Buddha, it is unlikely that anyone but locals would visit Wat Trimit. Compared to the many magnificent wats in Bangkok, Wat Trimit is rather plain architecturally, and it is located on a small side street in an out-of-the-way section of the city. Away from the tourist crowds who come to see the Golden Buddha, the wat does offer an interesting glimpse into Thai Buddhist practices. Devotees light sticks of incense to carry prayers heavenward, and worshippers apply thin sheets of gold leaf to images of the Buddha to make merit.
Phra Maha Chedi Si Rajakarn
Phra Maha Chedi Si Rajakarn is a set of four large intricately decorated chedis located on the grounds of Wat Pho. Built during the reign of King Rama I to house relics of the Buddha, they also honor the first three kings of the Chakri Dynasty (two are for King Rama III). Later, King Mongkut ordered the construction of a walled enclosure around the chedis to ensure that no others would be built in their vicinity.
Each of the chedis has 12 notches on its side (lesser chedis have less notches) and terminates in a 138-foot (42-meter) spire. They are decorated with colorful mosaics of glazed tiles and fragments of porcelain.
The chedis that make up Phra Maha Chedi Si Rajakarn are but four out of a total of 91 chedis on the grounds of Wat Pho. Seventy-one of the smaller chedis contain the ashes of members of the royal family, and 21 contain the purported ashes of the Buddha.
The Grand Palace Complex
The Grand Palace Complex is the royal center of Bangkok and includes the largest collection of temples and palaces in Thailand. The 54-acre (22-hectare) temple complex is located on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River and is surrounded by four defensive walls that contain 12 gates and 17 forts. Rather than being a single building, the Grand Palace is made up of numerous buildings, some of which include Wat Phra Keo, the Royal Pantheon, the Royal Chapel, the Royal Collection of Weapons, and the Coin Pavilion, among many others.
The temples in the Grand Palace Complex are generally in the Rattanakosin (traditional Thai) style of architecture and are covered in gold leaf, tiles, and mosaics of porcelain which glimmer in the tropical sun. Architectural structures include chedis (tall spires) and prangs (obelisk-like towers). The large gold chedi visible in the background is the Phra Si Rattana Chedi, constructed to house a piece of the Buddha's breastbone.
The Grand Palace Complex is divided into quarters which include Wat Phra Keo, the Outer Court, the Middle Court, and the Inner Court.
Wat Phra Keo is also called the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Thailand's most sacred object, the Emerald Buddha is a statue of the Buddha that is carved not from emerald, but from green jade. The quarter also contains other magnificent examples of Thai architecture including the Royal Pantheon, salawats (pavilions), statues, chedis, and prangs.
The Outer Court contains public buildings that are closed to the public, such as the office of the king's private secretary and offices and departments of the Royal Household. Of interest to tourists is the Pavilion of Regalia, Royal Decorations, and Coins.
The Middle Court contains the most important residential and state buildings, and is considered the heart of the Grand Palace Complex. Its most important building is the Great Chakri Palace, once the residence of the Thai kings, but which now serves as the royal throne hall. The quarter also contains numerous temples and pavilions.
The Inner Court was once reserved exclusively for use by the king, and in ancient times, his harem of queens and consorts. This quarter also contains the extensive Siwalai gardens.
The Great Chakri Palace
The Great Chakri Palace serves as the ceremonial throne hall for Thai kings. The palace is closed to the public and is only used by the king for ceremonial occasions, such as Coronation Day and state visits by foreign dignitaries. It was a royal residence until 1946, when King Rama IX moved to the Chitralada Palace a few miles away.
After a trip to Singapore and Java in 1875, King Rama V brought back English architect John Clunich and his assistant Henry Rose to design and build the throne hall. The king wanted the building to be completely European in style, but at the insistence of his Chief Minister, decided to add Rattanakosin-style roofs and spires. Therefore, the Great Chakri Palace is now an odd mixture of Rattanakosin (traditional Thai), Renaissance, and Italianate styles. The lower part of the building is in the European styles and the upper part is in the Rattanakosin style, with green-and-orange glazed tile roofs and golden spires.
The interior of the three-story building is dominated by the throne hall, or the Chakri Maha Prasat. It runs along the front of the entire building. The throne itself is in the center of the Chakri Maha Prasat, and is a golden chair on a raised dais, the base of which is adorned with golden garudas. The throne is flanked by two seven-tiered umbrellas and is topped by the Royal Nine-Tiered Umbrella.
The upper floors of the palace consists of various state rooms and include reception rooms, lesser throne rooms, galleries with royal religious images, and libraries.
The Wat Pho Complex
At 20 acres (eight hectares), the Wat Pho Complex is the largest complex of wats in Bangkok. It is also the oldest, having been established about 200 years before Bangkok became the capital of Thailand. The complex consists of two walled compounds separated by Soi Chetuphon, an east-west street. The southern compound, called Tukgawee, is closed to the public and is a working Buddhist monastery with living quarters for the monks and a school. The northern compound is popular with tourists and contains Wat Pho and a school for traditional Thai massage.
Known mostly for the Reclining Buddha, one of the world's largest images of the Buddha, the Wat Pho Complex also has more Buddha images than any wat in the country, with more than 1,000. Most of these were moved here from Thailand's ruined former capitals of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai.
The grounds of the complex contain a total of 91 chedis, including four large chedis honoring the first three kings of the Chakri Dynasty (two are for King Rama III). There are also four viharas (halls), a bot (central shrine), chapels, rock gardens, and numerous statues.
The wall around the compound has 16 gates guarded by Chinese giants carved from rock. They had been used as ballast on ships that were used for trade with China. The outer cloister contains images of 400 Buddhas out of 1,200 that were brought to Bangkok by King Rama I.
Wat Pho, the main temple, is built atop a raised marble platform punctuated by mythological lions at the gateways. The exterior ballustrade of the wat contains 150 depictions from the epic Ramakien, the Thai national epic derived from the Hindu epic, Ramayama.
Wat Pho, or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok. It is considered to be the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. The main attraction of the wat, however, is the Reclining Buddha, a statue that is 151 feet (46 meters) long and 49 feet (15 meters) high, and covered entirely with gold leaf.
Prior to the establishment of Wat Pho, the site where it is located today was a center of education for traditional Thai medicine. The grounds contained statues showing the various yoga positions.
When the former capital of Ayutthaya was sacked by the Burmese in 1767, a large image of the Buddha was destroyed. King Rama I ordered the construction of Wat Pho to house the fragments of that destroyed image. (The king named it after a monastery in India where the Buddha is believed to have lived). Construction on Wat Pho began in 1788 and its design was based on that of an earlier temple that had been on the same site, Wat Phodharam. The wat was restored and significantly expanded by King Rama III in the 1800s. As part of the restoration work, the king had plaques inscribed with medical texts placed around the building.
Adjacent to the main temple building is a small raised garden. Its centerpiece is a bodhi tree which was propegated from the original tree in India under which the Buddha sat while awaiting enlightenment.
Wat Benchamabopit was constructed by King Chulalongkorn in 1899 to house the ashes of King Rama V. It was the last major temple constructed in Bangkok.
Often called the Marble Temple, Wat Benchamabopit was constructed of white Carrara marble from Italy, which was almost priceless at the time. The main section of the building, the ubosot, was designed symmetrically with multiple layered roofs of glazed Chinese terra-cotta tiles trimmed with gold leaf.
The interior of the wat is an interesting mix of Thai and European influences. The bot, or chapel, features stained-glass windows, and the hallways are decorated with European-style stucco. The ceiling is supported by large Rattanakosin-style lacquered and gilt cross beams.
In a courtyard behind the wat there are 53 Buddha images which represent famous images and styles from all over Asia.
A sala is an open-sided pavilion used as a meeting place and to protect people from the sun and rain. They are common throughout Thailand, but a sala located on the grounds of a Buddhist temple, or wat, is called a salawat. A person who builds a salawat at a wat or in a public place gains religious merit.
There are 12 small salawats situated around Wat Phra Keo, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. They were built by King Rama I to house Buddhist relics, some from such places as Cambodia and Java. The salawats on the grounds of Wat Phra Keo are magnificently decorated with gilded pediments and glass mosaics arranged in floral designs. Often worshippers who come to see the Emerald Buddha make some sort of offering before the salawats, which can include the burning of incense, offering food to Buddhist monks, giving coins to the needy, or just saying a prayer.
The Ayutthaya Historical Park
Anyone who is interested in history should visit the ruins of the ancient Siamese capital that are preserved in the Ayutthaya Historical Park. Located 55 miles (89 kilometers) north of Bangkok, the historical park contains the ruins of hundreds of temples and palaces scattered over 14 non-contiguous sites around the modern city of Ayutthaya. The Ayutthaya Historical Park is now the most important and popular tourist site in Thailand outside of Bangkok. Most visitors take a day trip out of Bangkok, arriving by bus and returning to the city on a cruise down the Chao Phraya River.
Ayutthaya was founded around 1350 by King Ramathibodi. By the fifteenth century, the city had become a regional military power, conquering most of the city-states in what is now northern Thailand and Laos. And over the centuries, Ayutthaya became a flourishing center of trade and commerce. Foreign traders were welcomed and allowed to set up trading settlements outside the city walls. There were communities of Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indians, Pakistanis, and later Europeans. By the sixteenth century, Ayutthaya had become one of the largest and wealthiest cities in eastern Asia.
Beginning in the mid-fifteenth century, Ayutthaya came under repeated attacks by the traditional enemy of the Siamese, the Toungoo Dynasty of Burma. The Burmese attacked Ayutthaya many times between the mid-1500s and 1700s, but each time without success. Finally, in 1767, the Burmese were able to sack and loot the city, leaving it abandoned. The inhabitants fled south and the king set up his new capital at Bangkok, which became the capital of Siam.
From the time Ayutthaya was abandoned until about the mid-1930s, locals looted the ruins for bricks and building stones. Many of the temples and palaces were completely dismantled. In 1935, the ruins of Ayutthaya came under the protection of the government, and in 1969 the national Fine Arts Department began renovating and restoring the remaining ruins. In 1976, the Ayutthaya Historical Park was established, and in 1991 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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