The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew

Bangkok Travel Blog

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Phra Si Rattana Chedi, it is said to enshrine a piece of the Buddha's breastbone
Today we visited the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (the temple of the Emerald Buddha).   There really isn’t much to say as the pictures pretty much speak for themselves.  This was easily the most spectacular place I have visited in Thailand so far. 

 


Once you enter the complex you are directed toward Wat Phra Kaew which serves as the royal chapel to the Grand Palace.  The details are incredible.  In the center of the complex is Phra Mondop which is decorated in blue and green glass mosaics with gilded edges, it has a multi-tiered roof designed to be similar to the crown of a Thai King.  Next to that is Prasat Phra Thep Bidom which is only open to the public one day a year and is guarded by mythical creatures near all the entrances and is flanked by two gilded chedi.

Mythical creatures supporting the base of a golden Chedi
  Behind Phra Manop is a large model of the famous Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia which dates from when Cambodia was a vassal Thai state. 

 


Further to the back of the complex is a prayer hall and the Royal Mausoleum.  The outer wall of the temples courtyard is painted with 178 murals telling an epic story adapted from an Indian story.  There is also several pairs of giant yaksa (demons) standing guard. 


 

We wandered around this part of the temple for a while before we went to the most sacred structure, the Bot of the Emerald Buddha.  This is a huge building with a large raised sanctuary in the center.

Giant Yaksha (half demon, half god) guarding the entrance to a temple building
  At the top of an elaborate alter sits the Emerald Buddha, which is only about 30 inches tall and made of a solid block of Jade not Emerald.  No one is allowed to take photos inside the sanctuary, only from the ground level, which makes getting a clear shot very difficult. 

 


After seeing the Emerald Buddha, we walked to the other side of the complex to see the Grand Palace.  The buildings are stunning but you can’t really go inside any of them.  The palace was expanded by almost every Thai King, so the architectural styles vary from traditional Thai to European.  The most imposing building was the Chakri Maha Prasat (Grand Palace Hall) which is in the center of a large courtyard and is a Western style building with three Thai style spires (apparently added after an outcry that a hallowed Thai site would be dominated by western architecture).

Me in front of the Dusit Maha Prasat
  The palace is no longer used as the everyday residence (the royal family moved to a more private palace elsewhere in Bangkok), but it is used for special events and receiving foreign dignitaries.  Also impressive was the Dusit Maha Prasat which is classical Thai structure with a four-tiered roof and a nine-tiered spire. 


 


Following our visit to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, we took a cab to Siam Center to have some dinner before going to see the new Harry Potter Movie in IMAX 3D that night.  After the movie I came home, all in all a pretty good Sunday.



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Phra Si Rattana Chedi, it is said …
Phra Si Rattana Chedi, it is said…
Mythical creatures supporting the …
Mythical creatures supporting the…
Giant Yaksha (half demon, half god…
Giant Yaksha (half demon, half go…
Me in front of the Dusit Maha Pras…
Me in front of the Dusit Maha Pra…
Dusit Maha Prasat
Dusit Maha Prasat
View from just inside the entry ga…
View from just inside the entry g…
Chakri Maha Prasat
Chakri Maha Prasat
Model of Angkor Wat
Model of Angkor Wat
The Emerald Buddha
The Emerald Buddha
Gilded Garuda encircling the sanct…
Gilded Garuda encircling the sanc…
Mythical Creature guarding Prasat …
Mythical Creature guarding Prasat…
Restoring the picture book murals …
Restoring the picture book murals…
Bangkok
photo by: Deats