Places To See In Bangkok: Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha)
About Wat Phra Kaew (The Emerald Buddha)
The imposing, sky-piercing golden spires that sit atop the Temple Of the Emerald Buddha will signify to even the least knowledgeable tourist that this is generally considered the most sacred temple in Thailand. It is adorned throughout with statues, pagodas, elaborately decorated buildings and massive friezes depicting Buddhist and Hindu legend such as the Ramayana.
All of these grand edifices and sculptures, including 5-meter tall statues of guarding giants, are put in place to guard one tiny statuette. Although the Emerald Buddha is only 60 centimeters tall, it remains the focus of all the grandeur, Thai pride and tourist attention. The delicate model of the Buddha is the entire focus of Wat Phra Kaew. It is considered so important that the King travels to the Emerald Temple three times each year just to change the gilded monk’s robe adorning the statue.
This temple also claims to house the ashes of the Buddha. Considering all of the national, historical and spiritual significance, a visit to Bangkok would be incomplete without a visit to the Wat Phra Kaew.
Brief History Of The Emerald Buddha Temple
The history of this temple revolves around the tiny statue of the Buddha. According to legend, in 1434 AD, lightning struck a Buddhist reliquary mound in Chiengrai in northern Thailand. An abbot found the mysterious statue inside who cherished it. Soon after, many people began making regular visits to worship it.
A more plausible explanation reveals that the statue originated in India where it changed hands many times during ancient wars between Cambodia, Burma and Ayuttaya. In 1784, the statue was presented to Thonburi, the King of Thailand, and moved to its present location. The statue has long been considered a talisman of luck and is currently the focus of great pride and nationalism for the Thai people.
Tips for visitors to The Emerald Bhudda Temple
All visitors are required to wear long pants in order to visit Buddhist Wat, and this rule is strictly enforced. However, the temple complex offers trousers for rental. Tourists should also remember to cover shoulders and arms as a mark of respect. Entry can be denied to visitors who fail to respect the religious customs that surround the temple. When viewing the statue, visitors must remove their shoes sit in front of it. Entry into this Wat costs 200 Baht (approximately $6 USD) and includes entry into the adjoining Grand Palace.