Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew)
Phra Borom Maha Rajawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Regarded to be Thailand’s most sacred wat (temple), Wat Phra Kaew enjoys an ideal location in Bangkok’s historic centre where Phra Kaeo Morakot is enshrined upon the grounds of Grand Palace. Phra Kaeo Morakot is the hugely revered image of Lord Buddha that has been carved out of a single jade block.
The temple complex feature 12 open pavilions, built during Rama I’s rule. The list of monuments include Pagodas, Library, Angkor Wat’s model, Hermit statue, Nine towers and Elephant statue.
The construction of this temple started in the year 1785 as opposed to the other temples in Bangkok, Wat Phra Kaew has no quarters for the monks of the temple. Instead the temple consists of elaborately decorated statues, pagodas, and holy buildings. The central ‘ubosot’ is the main building in which the Emerald Buddha is housed. As an icon, it is of relevance for the people of Thailand. There stands a model of Angkor Wat at Wat Phra Kaeo that had been built when Cambodia remained under the rule of the Siamese.
This is a sacred place and you are required to dress appropriately before you enter the temple.
There are 12 different structure within the temple area for you to explore.
The Temple of Emerald Buddha is located inside The Grand Palace. The ticket price of 500 baht allows you to gain access to 30 over buildings/temples/halls in the big area. We are covering the temple complex in this page only.
The moment you enter the Outer Court of The Grand Palace, you are seeing the east side of Wat Phra Kaew (labelled as #1 and #2 in map).
The key structure, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is in the central ubosoth (chapel). The statue of Emerald Buddha is housed inside. The Buddha is in a position of meditation following the manner of the northern Lanna school, dating from the fifteenth century AD.
The temple stands high on a number of platforms. None except for the King has the permission to go before the Emerald Buddha. The statue of the Lord is covered thrice a year with a seasonal cloak indicating the summer, the winter, and the rainy seasons. During each season the King performs the special rite of changing the robes to bring about good fortune to Thailand. The Lord’s temple Lord is decorated beautifully as great peacefulness encompasses it.
Legend traces the statue back to India but historical records suggest the statue to be in Cambodia during the 15th century, then Laos in 16th century, and later to its capital city, Vientiane where it stayed for 215 years before moving finally to Thailand.
A golden chedi shaped reliquary named Phra Siratana Chedi (contain relics), Phra Mondop (house Buddhist sacred scriptures incribed on palm leaves) and The Royal Pantheon (enshrine statues of Chakri dynasty) are labelled as #3, #7 and #9 respectively.
You can also find statues of elephants and mystical beings scattered around. The elephant statue is in commemoration of the famous white elephant acquired during the reigns of Thai various kings.
The mural paintings at Hor Phra Gandhararat (#11) depicts scenes from the Ramakien to demonstrate the Glory of Rama.