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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 Pho or Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho Bangkok ThailandWat Pho or wat Phra Chetuphon, the oldest and largest wat in Bangkok, was built in the 16th century during the Ayutthaya period. The tempel was almost completely rebuilt in 1781 by King Rama I and again a major restoration in 1839 which took seventeen years to complete by King Rama III.

It features the largest reclining Buddha in Bangkok and the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand. Wat Pho came regarded as 'the first university in Thailand
' when King Rama III ordered texts to be inscribed on stone slabs around the temple which people can learn and read from.

The main attraction of Wat Pho is the famous 'Reclining Buddha
'. Built in the reign of King Rama III, this tremendous Buddha image is 46 metres (153 feet) long and 15 metres (50 feet) high. The statue was to representing the Lord Buddha trying to overwhelm one of the powerful demons and to convince him that his power is not the supreme. The figure is modelled out of plaster around a brick core and finished in gold leaf. Mother-of-pearl inlay ornaments the eyes and feet displaying 108 different auspicious characteristics of a Buddha. The building was built later to cover the Buddha image.


Reclining Buddha - Wat Pho

The other important building in the compound is the main chapel or Ubosot. Originally constructed in the reign of King Rama I, the Ubosot was considerably enlarged in the reign of King Rama III. The structure is extended with a three-tiered roof down to meet the colonnade around the building. Inside the Ubosot houses an ayutthaya-style bronze Buddha image in the attitude of meditation. King Rama I gave this image a name of Phra Puttha Devapatimok
. The pedestal of this image contains the crematory ashes of King Rama I, interred in the reign of King Rama IV

One of the images on display in the four Wihans surrounding the main Ubosot in the eastern part of the compound is also interesting. Phra Puttha Loknat Sasadajan, a tallest bronze standing Buddha image, stands in an alcove of the east Wihan. The image was formerly at Wat Phra Si Sanphet in Ayutthaya. It was brought to Bangkok together with Phra Si Sanphet which is now kept inside the great stupa of King Rama I.

The galleries extending between the four Wihans feature no less than 394 gilded Buddha images. This images were selected from among 1,200 that were brought down to Bangkok from either destroyed or deserted temples in the country during the destructive war.

Phra Puttha Devapatimakorn
Phra Puttha Devapatimakorn
Phra Puttha Loknat Sasadajan
Phra Puttha Loknat Sasadajan
Reclining Buddha
Reclining Buddha

Just outside the west Wihan, four great stupas called Phra Maha Chedi can be found each at 41 metres high. The four great stupas were built on three separate occasions. The first stupa was built in the reign of King Rama I to contain Buddha image, Phra Si Sanphet. The second occasion was happened when King Rama III built 2 more stupas on each side of the first one. The white glazed tile on the right was for King Rama II while the yellow one on the left was for his own behalf. The last great stupa in blue tile was built by King Rama IV to commemorate his own reign before he ordered that the future King shouldn't built any more great stupa in this already crowded temple.

Apart from the four great stupas, there are 4 groups of five stupas which each group stays on the same pedestal and 71 small line stupas. There are a total of 95 stupas of various sizes in the temple compound.

Around the terrace outside the gallery are found 26 rockeries. There were made up from stones moved from the garden in the Grand Palace. Two rockeries are of special interest. The one in front of the great stupas has a 'Siva Lingam' while another miniature rock hill features the 'Rishi' figures in posture of self massage. Apart from the rockeries, Wat Pho abounds in stone figures from China. The figures have been used as ballast of the sail when intensive trade with China were made during the reign of King Rama III.

Wat Pho is also the national headquarters for the teaching and preservation of traditional Thai medicine, including Thai massage. A massage school convenes in the afternoons at the eastern end of the compound. A Thai traditional message costs 250 baht per hour and 150 baht for a half-hour. The massage courses from five to 10-day courses can be attended for 7,000 Baht.

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