Traveling to Thailand doesn’t need a specific justification because the country has long welcomed visitors. A vacation to Thailand will always bring back memories of wandering on the fine white sands of stunning beaches, tasting exotic new Thai cuisine, seeing various night parties, and taking part in happy festivities made for modest occasions. Bangkok draws shoppers because it has upscale, contemporary malls and vibrant local markets around. Visiting the golden Buddhist temples in Bangkok, Thailand, is among the most alluring aspects of vacation there. We’ll give you a brief history of the Wat Prakao temple on this page.
History of Wat Phra Kaew
King Sukhothai ruled over the majority of what is now Thailand in the fourteenth century when the Kingdom of Siam first came into being. About 60 miles north of Bangkok was where the previous capital was situated. After ascending to the throne in 1782, King Rama I made the decision to shift the capital to Bangkok, which was located farther down the river. He gave the go-ahead for the new Palace’s construction.
In order to serve as the center of the new capital, the Royal Palace and Wat Phra Kaew were constructed. They were placed near the river on a key piece of land that had previously been inhabited by the Chinese people. In 1784, Wat Phra Kaew was finished. Since its erection, the temple has kept its overall look, with only modest alterations performed, especially to the murals on the outside wall, which are routinely repaired.
The architecture of the Wat Phra Kaew Temple
In the year 1784, Wat Phra Kaew’s building was finished. There are several structures on the grounds of the Grand Palace. There, on a total of roughly 234 acres, is where Wat Phra Kaew’s shrine is located. The Wat Phra Kaew precinct contains more than 100 structures and a more than 200-year-old history. When it comes to architecture, there has been a lot of innovation, and the design is very distinctive.
Wat Phra Kaew’s architectural style is known as the old Bangkok style or the Rattanakosin Style. Green and orange-hued polished tiles make up the glossy roof. There are support pieces made of polished marble and pillars with a lot of mosaic-like work on them. It was all created in the 18th century. On an altar, the Emerald Buddha’s primary statue is set. The altar is encircled by enormous ornamental items and is placed far above the ground.
Rama the Third, a monarch, put the setup’s base there since it had not previously been there. The two Buddha figures that flank the main picture are thought to stand in for the two monarchs of the Chakri dynasty. Visitors are in awe of the temple’s enduring splendor and beauty, as well as its preservation of the original architecture, despite its antiquity.
The Idol of the Deity
The Emerald Buddha is a statue with a dark green color that is sculpted in an upright position. The idol measurements of 26 inches in length and 19 inches in width. This idol was created entirely from a single jade stone block. The carving is similar to that of North Thailand’s Lanna School. The Buddha appears to be in deep thought. The Emerald Buddha is standing in a yogi’s position. He is portrayed as being deeply involved in meditation as he sits on his pedestal in “Sukhasana” with his legs crossed.
The Lord’s headwear is lavishly embellished. The torso is covered with an artistically adorned cloak in a golden color that adds to the idol’s allure. The Thai King and his Crown Prince are the only people who are allowed to touch the idol. In accordance with Thailand’s three official seasons—hot, cool, and wet—the statue’s cloak is changed three times a year. This rite of altering the cloak is carried out by the king. It is said to be a procedure that provides luck to the entire nation.
Additionally, the outfits vary depending on the season. Regarding the statue’s genesis, there are several hypotheses. There have also been assertions that the statue originated in Sri Lanka, in addition to allegations that it comes from northern India. Researchers from the history field are not permitted to study the monument. Due to this, there is currently no known scientific fact.
The Emerald Buddha’s frame at Wat Phra Kaew is gloriously illuminated in golden hues against a bluish-purple background as the sun sets. Buddhist monks, tourists, and travelers from all over the world throng to this location. It is said that the statue may have been transported from Patna, India, to Sri Lanka in order to safeguard it during a civil conflict that had broken out there to continue the controversy about the monument’s origins.
Due to the significance of this monument and the items connected to it, Burmese King Anuruth even dispatched ships and ambassadors to Sri Lanka. Along with the Emerald Buddha statue, the mission called for requesting and bringing Buddhist texts. His goal in doing this was to advance Buddhism in his nation. The idol was moved about until it was discovered in possession of King Chiang Rai of the Thai region of Chiang Rai. Later on, it was discovered and moved to its current location from there.
Wat Phra Kaew Temple Religious Ceremony
A custom that required the Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Kaew to be taken out of the temple was practiced from the late 1700s until the early 1900s. Additionally, it needed to be paraded around Bangkok’s streets. This was thought to have the ability to shield the general populace from the negative impacts of diseases and natural disasters. When King Rama the Fourth came to power, the practice was later abandoned because it may harm the Lord’s idol.
Additionally, the eastern parts of the world were forming their scientific temperament at this time. The king declared that germs alone, not the Buddha’s wrath or any other kind of bad spirit, is to blame for illnesses and epidemics.
The deity’s ritual of changing costumes is another important rite. The king himself cleans and removes any dust that may have accumulated in the picture. As his attendant ascends to change the Lord’s clothing, he murmurs prayers to the god. The other two pieces of clothing that are not being worn are kept on display so that guests can see them as well. The king’s journey to Wat Phra Kaew is necessary for the Thai King’s Coronation, another significant occasion for the nation.
Code of Conduct, Etiquette, and Entry Requirements for the Wat Phra Kaew
This shrine to the Emerald Buddha is regarded as one of the most significant and revered ones in the entire nation, as was previously indicated. In the Wat Phra Kaew grounds, the clothing code is rigorously observed. It’s fascinating to see that there are several dealers and vendors waiting for visitors outside the temple.
Realizing that they won’t be permitted inside the precinct, they try to persuade them and offer them exaggerated local printed goods (like “I Love Thailand”) type t-shirts and other such items. Tourists are frequently duped, only to discover that the apparel and accessories they just purchased aren’t even permitted to be worn because of the rigorous dress code.
The guidelines for dressing are:
- The fabric should extend over the shoulders and legs.
- The clothing shouldn’t be too tight, transparent, or a Bodycon dress.
- Sleeveless shirts, yoga trousers, and stretch pants are not permitted.
- Clothing with ripped designs, clothing with any religious themes, and clothing with any death-related themes are not permitted.
- Any tattoos that are either Buddhist or Hindu must be covered.
- Men are allowed to wear shoes with long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Long skirts for ladies might be a fantastic choice.
- Entrance to the area is prohibited for those who do not adapt to the dress code rules. There are choices for renting clothing and accessories outside the temple close to the admission area if one is not in compliance with the dress requirement. As a sign of reverence for the god, shoes must be taken off before entering the shrine.
- Additionally, it is recommended to tuck the feet beneath the torso when praying while facing the deity because extending the feet in front could be viewed as disrespectful.
Other information a visitor should know before:
- Smoking and chewing gum are both prohibited.
- No one should be seen eating anything.
- Accessory items like hats, sunglasses, and headphones shouldn’t be seen.
- The Lord’s picture should not be faced with one’s back, and one should also avoid pointing one’s foot in his direction since doing so is extremely insulting.
Other Expectations in Wat Phra Kaew
There is much more to see at Wat Phra Kaew than only the temple or the statue that it offers visitors. There are several delicious and uncommon artifacts that are only found in this precinct.
After a long day of travel, guests may unwind in the gardens and along the paved walkways while enjoying the shade of the trees. On the western part of the temple, there is a special bronze figure known as The Healer. A black statue of a doctor stands nearby, and people who are praying for ailing family members leave flowers there.
The premises are also lined with statues of elephants. The elephants’ gleaming heads are what makes them fascinating. The reason behind this is that it’s thought that caressing these elephants’ heads will bring good fortune. The heads have become extremely glossy as a result of constant rubbing over the years. There is also the idea that by going around these elephant sculptures three times, kids would gain strength.
The presence of stunning murals across the area adds to its uniqueness. The Jataka, Ramayana, and other myths are shown in the Wat Phra Kaew paintings. There is a lengthy collection of murals that make up the representation of Ramakian (which is the Thai version of the Hindu epic, Ramayana). The monkey deity Hanuman, who served as the monarch and leader of his army, is portrayed in these tales along with references to the beginning of the universe.
Additionally, there is a replica of Angkor Wat within the building! A temple called Angkor Wat is located in Cambodia. According to legend, King Mongkut intended to transport the Cambodian temple to Bangkok in pieces. But since that wasn’t practical, he ordered the building of an Angkor Wat replica. In addition to this, there is a library. Beautiful pavilions in the library house several precious manuscripts and scriptures. It’s important to remember that the Wat Phra Kaew library’s original structure was destroyed by fire, and this is only a copy of it.
How to Reach Wat Phra Kaew
The Grand Palace of Bangkok’s grounds contains the Wat Phra Kaew shrine. Taking river taxis is the most affordable method to get to this location. On the boats, you may also have a fun time. Given that the majority of people are visitors and are traveling in the same general direction, figuring out which direction to go is not difficult. So, in the event of an issue, a little bit of asking around or just going with the flow could be beneficial.
It is essential that guests keep organized in preparation by obtaining all the information well in advance of actually leaving for their day trip to Wat Phra Kaew. When visiting new areas, it is usually a good idea to be prepared. However, unless you are traveling with a native, taxi drivers will take advantage of you and overcharge you. However, there is connectivity along the route as well. One can use the internet in such a circumstance to keep updated about routes and prices and, if necessary, call taxi drivers’ bluff.
Operating hours and Tickets for Wat Phra Kaew
Public access to Wat Phra Kaew’s grounds is available every day. Photography is permitted on the property and in the surrounding areas; however, it is prohibited within the main temple area. The ticket office closes at 15:30, and the visitation hours are from 8:30 to 15:30. Wat Phra Kaew is also included in the ticket for access to the Grand Palace, which must be purchased separately. For foreign tourists, the entrance fee is 500 Baht (around 16–17 dollars).
These were some key things to be aware of before visiting Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaew. You can gather all the data you require to plan your journey. Moreover, make your journey enjoyable, hassle-free, secure, and one you’ll always remember.