The grand temples and palaces of Bangkok is a grand invitation to Thailand’s architecture appreciation, rich cultural heritage and religious background. But once I step in any Wat (temple) or look upon a chedi (pagoda) or stupa (Thai buddhist monument), one color or ensemble adorning every structure caught my attention – gold. From ornate walls to windows up to the pointed roofs, every temple or palace in Bangkok seems to be bejeweled and carved out of gold. Each are sparkling. Each are beautifully designed like life-sized jewelries. Each spells gold. My wanderings to these temples and palaces let me have an ultimate gold experience in the country but it also let me appreciate the Thai architecture and culture in all forms.
|The ultimate burst of gold - The Temple of the Reclining Buddha.|
|Wat Benchamabophit - Bangkok's finest architecture.|
|Ornate roofs of structures inside the complex of Wat Benchamabophit.|
|A closer look to the intricate design of one of the windows.|
|Shan drum at Sri Somdej Pavillion.|
|The golden roofs of the Marble Temple.|
|The different images of Buddha found in the cloister of the temple.|
|Explaining the position and meaning of the Buddha image.|
|Phra Buddhajinaraja at the altar and the main buddha image in Marble Temple.|
|One of the Buddha images different from one position from another.|
|The main facade of the temple.|
|Wat Benchamabophit was 10th and final elimination stop of famous reality TV show Amazing Race 9.|
|Post-card perfect photo of the Marble Temple.|
Grand Palace is a complex of temples and palaces in Rattanakosin district. For 150 years, it has been a home of the King and his court as well as the administrative seat of the government. Thai kings stopped living in the palace full-time around the turn of twentieth century, but the complex remains the seat of power and spiritual heart of the kingdom. There is a strict dress code for visiting the Grand Palace. Inside the complex, where the Temple of the Emerald Buddha also sits, is Thailand’s most sacred site. Visitors must be properly dress before being allowed to enter the temple like men should wear long pants and shirts with sleeves and woman should wear close shoes, modestly dressed and no see through or bare shoulder dress.
|A grand invitation...|
|The legend of Ramakien painted in the cloister of the complex.|
|Phra Siratana Chedi - highest gold intensity experience!|
|Bejeweled and golden - The Royal Pantheon's walls and windows.|
|Phra Mondop (left) and Phra Siratana Chedi (right).|
|Model of Angkor Wat of Cambodia.|
|A grand invitation to unique and stunning Thai architecture.|
Neighboring to the Upper Terrace is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaew. The temple has a very ornate and detailed designed roof in multicolored layer of dark blue, orange and yellow. The outside structure is designed with golden intricate patterns that also extends to its columns and outer walls. But the real attraction of the temple is the Emerald Buddha found inside the hall of the temple. I take a peak inside the altar by removing my shoes and seated on the floor. Taking photos inside are not allowed. The Emerald Buddha is actually carved from a block of jade and first discovered in 1434. It was initially thought made of emerald , hence the name of the image. The image is enshrined on a golden traditional Thai-style throne made of gilded carved wood. The throne sparkles in gold designs which I admire along with its surrounding stunning jewel-like patterns that looks difficult to make. A look into the thrones’ accessory designs made like small temples will make you feel like in a trance because of its gleaming and sparking pattern. It is like jewelries glittering everywhere in Wat Phra Kaew.
|The stunning Royal Pantheon.|
|A closer look to the golden and bejeweled wall of Wat Phra Kaew.|
|The grand palaces and temples of Grand Palace!|
|Chakri Maha Prasat Hall, left and next to it is Dusit Maha Prasat Hall.|
|Chakri Maha Prasat Hall is used for reception of foreign ambassadors and state banquets.|
Neighboring to the Chakri group is the Dusit group of buildings. This group consists of the Dusit Maha Prasat Hall and Amphorn Phimok Prasat Pavilion. The Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall was built by King Rama I and intended the present building to be use for his own lying-in-state ceremony. Today, is still remains as the lying-in-state of kings, queens and honored members of the royal family. The hall has an admirable four-tiered roof brightly encrusted with gold and intricate patterns and layered green and orange covers. It is topped with seven-tiered spire also made of intricate gold patterns. Also a structure who wouldn’t be left behind in gold embellishment structures is the Amphorn Phimok Prasat Pavilion. Aside from the elaborate design and architecture, its gold design extends to its columns and wall lines. This design makes it one of the most stunning pavilion inside the Grand Palace.
I am amazed in each architectural designs of the structures inside the Grand Palace. Each seems to be laid with jewels and gold! The beautiful pattern designs are hard to duplicate. Yet the boldest of all the designs or colors found inside the complex is gold! The single color that always caught my attention. The only color that dominates each temple and palace. In Grand Palace, everything is gleaming in gold, gold, gold.
|Snamchand Pavilion (the grey structure) leads an entrance to the Chakri and Dusit group of buildings.|
|The golden pedestal and the Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Kaew.|
|Dusit Maha Prasat Hall (back with golden spire) and Amphorn Phimok Prasat Pavilion (front and smaller structure).|
Almost a neighbor to Grand Palace is Wat Pho or better known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. This is where I experience an ultimate burst of gold because of the biggest image of reclining Buddha I have seen sparkling wholly in gold! The moment I step into the grounds of Wat Pho, a lot of visitors were already inside the hall to catch a glimpse of the golden image. The soles of the statue’s feet are inlaid with mother-of-pearl showing 108 auspicious signs of the Buddha. This is the largest and most beautiful piece of fine arts of the Buddha image in a reclining position found in Thailand. Even the walls and columns where it is contained is reflecting gold colors because of the golden gleam of the image.
|Gold, gold, gold - The Golden Reclining Buddha, the biggest buddha image in Thailand.|
|3 of the group of 4 huge pagodas called Phra Maha Chedi Si Rajakarn inside the grounds of Wat Pho.|
|Painted murals inside the walls of Temple of the Reclining Buddha.|
|The huge image of the golden reclining Buddha.|
|A faithful praying inside Phra Uposatha with the Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn buddha image at the altar.|
|Some of the numerous small spires found inside Wat Pho.|
This spires and pagodas in Wat Pho has a significant historical value and admirable designs but the ultimate burst of gold is still the reclining golden Buddha. It is the center of gold experience in Wat Pho. Though, the hot weather and high sun can discourage you to explore further the grounds of the temple, Wat Pho is a worth visit for an enriching learning about Thailand and it rich cultural heritage.
|Phra Maha Chedi Muni Batborikharn represents the reign of King Rama III.|
|The dark blue tile pagoda, Phra Maha Chedi Song Phra Srisuriyothai.|
|Phra Maha Chedi Si Rajakarn.|
When I visited Wat Benchamabophit, it suits its another name as The Marble Temple for it is the most beautiful temple I saw in Bangkok. Its marble columns and floors gleams classiness in it that perfectly matches to its ornate and intricate designed golden roofs. It has a very admirable architecture. When I visited the Grand Palace, I was submerged to its golden and bejeweled architectures. Each structure is stunning and in everywhere I look or glance, I always see gold! Yet Grand Palace is a grand invitation to the Thailand’s history discovery, rich culture and unique architecture. When I visited Wat Pho, I believe I reach my ultimate gold experience in Bangkok. It almost submerge me in a trance because of the burst of gold all-over the huge reclining Buddha that I never seen before. The pagodas and spires surrounding the temple proves the rich religious background and history of the country. I won’t be surprise if James Bond’s famed nemesis Auric Goldfinger would love Bangkok. Because he loves only gold and in Bangkok everything is gold!
Everything is Gold in Bangkok is part of my Thailand's Amazing Smiles series where I share my wonderful trip to the land of amazing smiles last October 25-28, 2011. Other "gold" experience you may have in Bangkok is by visiting Wat Saket or Golden Mount, Loha Prasat and Wat Traimit or Temple of the Golden Buddha. For a helpful trip to Bangkok visit Bangkok for Visitors website for more information.You might also like the other parts of the series:
- Exploring Bangkok on a Tuktuk
- Everything is Gold in Bangkok
- A Bowl of Thailand
- Bangkok by Boat
- The Charming Canals of Ratchaburi
- The Royal Orchids of Thailand
- Siam Elephant Encounter made me Smile
- Pratunam's Irresistible Bargains
- 360 Degree of Bangkok from the Sky
- Suvarnabhumi Airport: Thailand's mega-structure