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  Bangkok Attractions



Wat Phra Kaeo or Temple of the Emerald Buddha
The Grand Palace
Wat Pho or Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing
Bangkok National Museum
Wat Arun or Temple of Dawn
Jim Thompson's House
Santichaiprakarn Park
Lumpini Park

Wat Arun - Temple of Dawn

Temple of Dawn, Bangkok ThailandThe Temple of Dawn or Wat Arun is name after the Indian god of dawn, Aruna. It appears in all The tourist brochures and is located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. King Taksin chose this 17th century Wat for his royal temple and palace. The temple was formerly known as Wat Makok and renamed to 'Wat Jaeng', literally means Temple of Dawn, when he restored it.

The Emerald Buddha was housed here after it was recaptured from Laos, before being moved to Wat Phra Kaeo in 1785. Even without the sacred statue, Wat Arun continued to be much revered, and the King Rama II and King Rama III reconstructed and enlarged the main prang of the temple to its present height of 74 metres. King Rama II renamed it to 'Wat Arunratchatharam' and King Rama IV later changed the name to 'Wat Arunratchawanaram'.

Today, Wat Arun has a long, elongated, Khmer-style, prang, the tower, and four minor towers symbolising Mount Meru, the terrestrial representation of the thirty-three heavens. The Prangs are covered with pieces of porcelain, which Chinese boats coming to Bangkok used as ballast.

The main Prang, steep steps lead to the two terraces that form the base of the Prang. The different layers, or heavens, are supported by Kinnaree, or half-humans, and frightening Yaksas, or demons. Pavilions on the first platform contain statues of the Buddha at the most important stages of his life, while on the Hindi god Indra or Erawan, his thirty-three headed elephant, stand guard.

Most tourists come for the climb and don't have time for the rest of the Wat. The main Buddha image inside the Bot is believed to have been designed by king Rama II himself, but the murals date from the reign of King Rama V.

The temple has flourished throughout the Ratanakosin period. The beauty of the architecture and the fine craftmanship declare its status as a temple of the first grade and one of the most outstanding temples of Thailand. In a long tradition, every king of the Chakri Dynasty has presided over important ceremonies here, including the Royal barge procession to offer Pra Krathin or monk's robes, during the Thod Krathin Festival.

Royal Barge Procession with the Temple of Dawn in the background

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