Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Temple of the Reclining Buddha - a must see when visiting Bangkok

Wat Pho known also as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha is a must see when visiting Bangkok. The Reclining Buddha statue and surrounding grounds are stunning with Hundreds of amazing photo opportunities. It is a Buddhist temple located in the Rattanakosin district directly adjacent to the Grand Palace. Its official name is Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan.  It also known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage

inside Wat Pho
Wat Pho is named after a monastery in India where Buddha is believed to have lived. Prior to the temple's founding, the site was a centre of education for traditional Thai medicine, and statues were created showing yoga positions. An enormous Buddha image from Ayuthaya's Wat Phra Si Sanphet was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767; King Rama I (1782-1809 A.D.) incorporated its fragments to build a temple to enlarge and renovate the complex.

reclining Buddha
The image of reclining Buddha is 15 m high and 43 m long with his right arm supporting the head with tight curls on two box-pillows of blue, richly encrusted with glass mosaics. The 3 m high and 4.5 m long foot of Buddha displays are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. They are divided into 108 arranged panels, displaying the auspicious symbols by which Buddha can be identified like flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers and altar accessories. Over the statue is a seven tiered umbrella representing the authority of Thailand.

reclining Buddha at wat pho
There are 108 bronze bowls in the corridor indicating the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. People drop coins in these bowls as it is believed to bring good fortune, and to help the monks maintain the wat. Though the reclining Buddha is not a pilgrimage centre, it remains an object of popular piety

108 auspicious characters of Buddha
The temple is considered the first public university of Thailand, teaching students in the fields of religion, science and literature through murals and sculptures. The temple is home to one of the earliest Thai massage schools. Traditional Thai massage and medicine is taught at the Traditional Medical Practitioners Association Center, an open air hall outside the temple. For Thai massage therapists, the medical inscription inside the temple acts as a base for treatment.

Tips:

  • When you were looking forward to the great massage and it lived up to its reputation.  Do treat yourself with it to escape from all the people outside queuing to take photos with the Buddha.
  • Any time of the year, the tropical climate is too hot. So if you are planning to be here early morning or late afternoon will be the best time.
  • Don’t forget to take your free drinking water that is included at 100 baht entrance fee.
  • There is also a little gift shop onsite if you want to get any souvenirs
  • There are many fruit sellers outside the temple. They sell chill slices of tropical fruits like mangos and pineapples. It was nice for some baht to kill your thirsty. The Vitamin C is good for your health too.
  • Do not expect to spend long there if you are going to see just the Buddha, it was around 30 minutes. But you can run out of time to see the rest of the grounds.
  • A short walk from the ferry,  that will take you to the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun). A short walk on both sides, no more than 10 minutes will get you to the other attraction, both of which are must sees.
Coconut Ice cream seller at wat pho
There are a few things you need to know about the reclining Buddha:

  • You cannot wear shoes inside the building.  They will give you a bag to carry your shoes in.
  • You cannot wear hats inside the building
  • The only place you have to cover up is when you go to see the Buddha. They ask you to cover up your shoulders and your legs - if you happen to turn up uncovered they will give you a bright green long robe to cover yourself with (around 10% of people in there were wearing one)

By "febzakri"

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