WAT PHO THE TIMELESS CULTURAL HERITAGE OF THAILAND

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C.YANO | G. F. Virgos
24/09/18   |   213   |  

Bangkok, the great city of angels, is the capital city of Thailand which is full of culture and local wisdom. There are plenty of cultural attractions that will blow your mind. One of them is Wat Pho, which was placed in the world's top 17 and Asia's top 3 of 2018 in Tripadvisor's Travelers Choice. Today, Tiewlasud would like to invite everyone to admire this cultural heritage. Let’s seek why this temple is a top destination for many tourists. 

 

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Wat Pho, or Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn, also known as Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is Pra Aram Luang temple, a temple built by the king or the royal family. Wat Pho represents King Rama I. It was considered to be the first university of Thailand which gathered history, literature, wisdom, and medicine altogether as a heritage for new generation of Thais to learn. Its stunning display of symmetry and colors makes Wat Pho a well-known temple all across the globe, and a must-see wonder for all who travel in Thailand.

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In front of the entrance gate and also around the temple, there are a lot of Chinese style statues, historical used as a ship’s ballast, then later carved by Thai craftsmen consisted of 20 different forms; for example, 

  • Chinese style statue in a western cloth dispays Marco Polo, the first westerner to enter China
  • Lanthan statue in a Chinese opera dress as a noble warrior. He looks straight as if he is staring at someone angrily.
  • Chinese guardian lion statue is usually situated at the foot of the stairs with stones carved as pearls in its mounth.

These Chinese style statues represent not only the Chinese architecture, but also the craftsman's skill, wisdom, and philosophy.

 

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The Hall of the Reclining Buddha is filled with murals that establish the story of past Buddhists in Siam. The Reclining Buddha is a beautiful Buddha statue which has his soles decorated with pearls. Thais along with tourists usually visit the Hall of the Reclining Buddha to pay respect to the image of the Buddha. 

 

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Moreover, Wat Pho is well-known for its knowledge of Thai ancient massage which can be seen throughout various parts of the temple; for example, the Contorted Hermit Mount where there are yogi sculptures of hermits in the position of the Indian yoga, an exercise combined with art. 

 

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Finally, the most outstanding feature of Wat Pho is these gigantic chedis called Phra Maha Chedi Si Rajakarn. They represent the reign of four kings of Thailand and they are situated near a prominent wall with a Thai-Chinese architectural style gate.

  • Phra Maha Chedi Sri Sanpetdayarn (with green mosaic tiles) was built to be the place for Pra Sri Sanpet, the principle Buddha image from the Ayutthaya era, and represents the reign of King Rama I. 
  • Phra Maha Chedi Dilok Dhammakaroknitarn (with white mosaic tiles) represents the reign of King Rama II.
  • Phra Maha Chedi Muni Batborikharn (with yellow mosaic tiles) represents the reign of King Rama III.
  • Phra Maha Chedi Srisuriyothai (with blue mosaic tiles) represents the reign of King Rama IV. 

Additionally, King Rama IV told King Rama V that

“These chedis seem like a score for king. If he always builds a score for himself, then there will be no space left to build others. These four chedis should be together as the four kings have known each other. Therefore, there is no need to build a chedi for each reign anymore” 

(The General View of Somedetch Phra Paramindr Maha Chulalongkron, King Rama V: Memoirs of Narinthorn Princess) 
 

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Wat Pho is one of the historical, literary, and intellectual landmarks which tells the origin of Thai culture. This is the place that still waits for Thai and foreign tourists to experience the marvelous beauty of Thai culture. 

 

Operating hours : Everyday, 08:30-18:30 
Location : 2 Sanamchai Rd., Grand Palace Subdistrict. Pranakorn District, Bangkok 
Transportation : By Chao Phraya Express boat: get off Tha Tien pier (N8),
                        then continue walk around 150 m. 
Entrance Fee : Free for Thais 
                       50 THB for foreigners 

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C.YANO | G. F. Virgos

C.YANO | G. F. Virgos

Writer | Translator



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