Monday 15 September 2014

The Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha, Bangkok

Inside the Royal Palace is the most venerated Buddhist site of Thailand - The Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha.
The Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha, Bangkok

The name itself is a misnomer as the Buddha is not made of emerald but of green jade. The locals call the monastery as Wat Phra Kaew. The story goes that when the Buddha statue was discovered in 1434 in a Stupa in Chiang Rai it was covered in a plaster. When part of the plaster peeled off the monk who saw the green stone underneath thought it was made of emerald and somehow the name of Emerald Buddha stuck. The origin of the statue is believed to be in India.

Pilgrims praying in front of the Royal Monastery, Bangkok 

In front as well as inside pilgrims light candle and joss sticks as well as place flowers and pray. What is interesting is that though it is a monastery no monks stay here and only on royal ceremonies the monks come from outside. This is so as the monastery also serves as a private praying place for the royal family.

Inside the monastery the walls are covered with murals depicting life of the Buddha. Outside walls of the monastery are covered all round with several statues in gold and the walls itself are gold plated.

Decorations on the outer walls of the Wat Phra Kaew Monastery

Despite the fact that the Emerald Buddha is located here since 1778 (for more than 200 years it was in Laos) the monastery looks like new and is well maintained. And despite the fact that there are always lots of tourists thronging the Royal Palace there is no disorder and the crowd management is very good.

The Emerald Buddha with gold costume

The Emerald Buddha sits on a golden throne and the costume of the Buddha is changed thrice a year as per the season by the King in a ceremony though I am told that now as the King is quite old this ceremony is performed by his son.

Photography inside the temple is not allowed. Also as is true for most temples in Thailand one needs to be properly attired. If you are not then you can buy or take on rent appropriate clothing near the entrance of the Royal Place. The entrance fee of 100 Baht is valid for the whole of the Royal Palace.

Also read:

Phraya Nakhon Cave in the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park in Thailand

Would you like to have a separate waiting room to yourself?

Tourism in Thailand: Lessons for India

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Thailand

Phra Nakhon Khiri Palace

Skywatch Friday - View of A Halo from the Royal Palace, Bangkok


Siddhartha Joshi said...

This is an absolutely gorgeous place...and interesting to know that the statue of Buddha came from India...

-- The Wanderer

Anil Yadav said...

Yes it surely is a beautiful place Siddhartha Joshi. As far as origin of the statue being in India I can only say that that is what I heard and cannot vouchsafe for the authenticity of the statement.

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely place!

Anil Yadav said...

Thank you for liking the pictures/post!