Wat Phra Kaew is THE iconic temple in Bangkok that enshrines a 66 cm tall jadeite Buddha statue, and hence also the name “Temple of the Emerald Buddha”. Thailand is a country with a long history of Buddhism with the earliest signs of Buddhism as early as the 5th century.
Many grand temples and shrines were built and if there is only one temple you could visit in Bangkok, it would be no other than the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
Before you even walk into the main hall (or “ubosoth”) to see the the famed Buddha, you would be dazzled by a myriad of jewels and intricate decorations that adorn the walls of the main hall.
This is the entrance that brings you to the emerald Buddha.
The doors are equally impressive.
The glimmering statue draped in golden clothing that sits atop the pedestal is the Emerald Buddha. The history of the Buddha dates back to 5 BC, when the Buddha was thought to have originated from India. After hundreds of years of turmoil, the statue traversed through different countries and civilizations including Laos, Cambodia, and civilization of Ayutthaya, before finally settling down in Thailand. There are three different sets of clothing that correspond to different seasons and only the King is allowed to change the Buddha’s clothes. No photos are allowed inside the hall so I could only take it from a distance.
Other notable and glittering buildings include the Royal Pantheon (“Prasat Phra Thep Bidon”) flanked by two symmetrical golden chedis. The Royal Pantheon was supposed to be the original place to enshrine the Emerald Buddha although it was thought to be too small later on.
the demons (or “yalsha”) come in giant size too, found guarding the gate near the Royal Pantheon,
and the half-bird, half-human “kinnon”.
The Library (“Phra Mondop”) is located right behind the Royal Pantheon housing precious Buddhist manuscripts,
whereas the Sri Lankan golden “Phra Si Rattana Chedi” houses Buddha’s ashes.
Other buildings are not as lavish, though equally exquisite in a different style with porcelain stones, including ” Phra Wihan Yot” with the spires mimicking the Thai crown,
the “Ho Phra Khantararat” in similar style,
and many chedis in the vicinity.
Interestingly, there is a miniature Angkor Wat next to “Phra Wihan Yot”.
Address : Na Phra Lan Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand.
Admission Fee : 500 Baht for foreigners.