All the pictures on this page were made with a Sony Mavica® FD71 digital camera.
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Wat Suwannaram is not a very well-known Temple. In fact most of the day it is closed. Because it is renowned for its excellent murals, we have tried several times to enter it over the years and in November 1999 we succeeded at last.
We went there near sundown and the Temple was open! But we had to wait for some time before we could enter, because the Monks were saying their evening prayers (see the left hand side picture above).
When we were free to enter at last, we appeared not to be very welcome, because the Temple had to be closed again. It is not open to the public normally. But, being so lucky to be married to a Thai wife, more doors open to me than to many others. When my wife asked so, we were allowed to enter and to see the murals. See the right hand side picture above for a detail. The murals date from the 19th Century. The Monk in charge told us that the Temple needs to be restored urgently, but that there is not enough money.... Hence the limited opening hours! I could not photograph the Buddha Image due to the very limited light that was allowed inside, in order not to harm the fragile murals. Only one of the windows was opened. If you have some patience and love old Temple murals, go there and hope to be let inside! Wat Suwannaram is in Bangkok Noi (not too far from the Royal Barges Museum).
While waiting until the Monks had said their evening prayers, we were able to see another typical sight near Thai Temples: People were doing their exercises, that resembles a kind of gymnastic. It mainly is a way to concentrate on Religious matters, however.
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Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha)
Wat Traimit is on the list of every touring company in Bangkok. If you make a City tour, you will also go inside Wat Traimit, and it is worth the sight.
The Buddha image (left hand side picture) is made of solid gold and dates from the Ayutthaya Period. When Ayutthaya fell after an invasion by the Burmese, everything of any value was robbed and taken to Burma. But not this solid golden Buddha.....
The Thais were so clever to cover it with cement (some of the original pieces are on display inside the Temple) and in that way it looked like a worthless cement Buddha Image! Later it was transferred to Bangkok, to Wat Traimit.
The Temple building itself is not very worthwhile. It is just the Golden Buddha that is (very) worthwhile.
But now that you are there anyway, cross the street to find a fine Chinese Shrine, that is also worth a visit (right hand side picture).
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This Temple has the shape of the most important of the Royal Barges: Suphanahongse. The construction of this relatively new Temple should have been finished in 1992. We went there several times since, but in 1999 it still was not finished. Most pictures here date from that year. We went back once more in 2003, but the building had not progressed one stone. Three of the pictures here date from that year. We have not had the courage to go there since. To us this seems to be the Temple that will never be finished. Nevertheless I find the idea to build a Temple in the shape of a Royal Barge highly appealing and therefore you find it on my site.
Wat Chalor is in Nonthaburi Province. Go to the final pier (in the North) of the Express Boat service, cross the river by ferry and take a bus to Bang Kruay (which you will probably have to pronounce as Bang Kluay). The Temple is opposite Bang Kruay Police Station. You can't miss the "head" of the Temple, which can be seen from the road.
The impressive Buddha Images of this Temple "under construction" have been placed outside, waiting for a better housing....
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