Monday, February 27, 2012

Thailand - Bangkok Temple Hopping 1 - Wat Po




There are numerous Buddhist temples in Bangkok City. Wat Po (Reclining Buddha) is one of the oldest and largest temple complex among these temples. It is located at the back of The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew.









I stayed for 1 week near Khao San road and it took me at least 30 minutes of leisurely walk before I was able to reach this place. You can easily follow any city map if you are staying within Khao San area. However, in case you intend to come here by Chao Phraya Express boat then Wat Po is very near to Tha Tien Pier.

I paid 100 THB as entrance fee with free bottle of mineral water. To know the entrance, just follow the throngs of tourists visiting this place daily.

Inside the complex, you can easily find the reclining Buddha temple due to several notice boards strategically installed at different parts of the temple complex.


There are several giant stone structures which can be mistaken as gate guards for they are standing adjacent to the many entrances of the temple. I have no idea what is the relevance of these stone structures.


           


Before entering the actual temple you need to put your footwear inside a blue bag and carry it inside. You may return the blue bag upon leaving the temple.

Once inside the temple I was in awe upon seeing the reclining Buddha statue due to its size and design. Not to mention the inlaid mother of pearl at Buddha's feet.


According to wiki:

The image of reclining Buddha is 15 m high and 43 m long with his right arm supporting the head with tight curls on two box-pillows of blue, richly encrusted with glass mosaics.The 3 m high and 4.5 m long foot of Buddha displays are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. They are divided into 108 arranged panels, displaying the auspicious symbols by which Buddha can be identified like flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers and altar accessories. Over the statue is a seven tiered umbrella representing the authority of Thailand. There are 108 bronze bowls in the corridor indicating the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. People drop coins in these bowls as it is believed to bring good fortune, and to help the monks maintain the wat. Though the reclining Buddha is not a pilgirmage centre, it remains an object of popular peity.

ADDITIONAL SHOTS


the two box-pillows

The bronze bowls where the devotee can drop some coins. You can change 20 THB coins from the lady at the desk at the back of the reclining Buddha.


Inside the complex were four huge and walled Chedis (Pagodas) dedicated to the first four kings of Chakri dynasty known as Rama I, II, II and IV. These four Chedis were walled and enclosed so as no more Chedi will be built or added on the same area as these four kings were alive and met each other in the same period of time.

2 of the 4 Chedis

at the base of the Chedis




Wat Po is considered as the first public university of Thailand. It is also one of the earliest Thai massage school hence you will find inside the temple complex a massage shop. However, it is costly compared to other massage area in Bangkok.

 

An exhibit hall inside the complex.



OTHER SHOTS


ordination hall

Wat Po is truly amazing. Not only due to tremendous size and construction of the reclining Buddha but also due to its historical importance to this country and its people.


You may check my Bangkok temple hopping posts:

Bangkok Temple Hopping 1 - Wat Po (Temple of The Reclining Buddha)
Bangkok Temple Hopping 2 - Wat Saket (Temple of Golden Mount)
Bangkok Temple Hopping 3 - Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
Bangkok Temple Hopping 4 - Wat Ratchanatdaram (Loha Prasat)
Bangkok Temple Hopping 5 - Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha)