All the pictures on this page were made with a Sony Mavica® FD71 digital camera.
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Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Budda)
Wat Phra Kaew is not only popular by tourists, but -as the left hand side picture above shows- also by Buddhist Monks. It is not uncommon to see groups of Monks going there.
When you go there (as a tourist) be aware that at the entrance "official guides" will try to convince you that you should hire them. In principle there is nothing against that. You should ask yourself, however, if you really need a guide. At the entrance where you pay you entrance fee you get a free guidebook. Probably that gives you enough information. If you prefer a personal guide, hire one.
Especially at Wat Phra Kaew dressing correctly is important. You won't get in with a shirt that has no sleeves or with short pants. If you miss some correct pieces of cloting, you can rent them at the entrance.
As in other important Temples (like Wat Pho, also shown on these pages) Wat Phra Kaew is guarded by "Giants", as shown on the right hand side picture above.
The decorations on all the buildings on the Temple grounds are of a very high quality. On the left hand side picture you see a Ramakien figure, as you will find many there. The right hand side picture shows the Temple Bell (Rakhang), an important part of every Temple in Thailand. On this picture I show it as it is at Wat Phra Kaew, but every Temple in Thailand has a "Rakhang".
On other places on of these "Temples in Bangkok" pages I have shown you "Cornerstones" of Thai Temples already. On the left hand side picture above you see one of the Cornerstones of Wat Phra Kaew (around the building where the Emerald Buddha is kept).
The right hand side picture above shows Aponsi statues. This creature is half woman, half lion. I find them of great beauty. Take a good look, but don't touch them. That really is not appreciated!
And this is ... The Emerald Buddha! You are not allowed to take pictures inside the building where it is kept. So don't try to do so anyway, because that can have very unpleasant consequences for you! You can (and are allowed to) take a good picture through one of the windows, like I did, if your camera has a reasonably powerful zoom lens.
On this picture the Emerald Buddha is in its Kathin (rainy season) dress. At the change of the seasons HM the King (or - since he has withdrawn himself from public duties - the Cown Prince) changes the dress in a Ceremony, during which the public are not allowed to be on the Temple grounds. This Ceremony is broadcasted on TV.
The story of the Emerald Buddha is a long and uncertain one. The Emerald Buddha has been in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Laos and maybe in even more places before it found its place in Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok in 1784. By the way: It is called the Emerald Buddha, but it is made out of a large piece of green Jade.
I have written this on other pages of my site too, but please remember not to point your feet forward when you sit down in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha! It is considered very rude in Thailand to point at a Buddha Image with your feet and you will highly offend the Thais if you do. So please remember this and admire this outstanding Buddha Image in a respectful way!
Finally I show you two of the panels of the Ramakien Gallery. ("Ramakien" is the Thai name of the "Ramayana" epic). All around Wat Phra Kaew this Ramakien Gallery gives the complete story in 173 large painted panels. This is your only chance to see the complete story in pictures! All over Thailand in many different places you can see pictures of this epic, but nowhere else you can see it complete. So far I have not encountered any acceptable book of the complete Ramakien story in English. Maybe it does not exist, because Thai children hear this story from their earliest days on school onward. Maybe there is no need to read it again in a book? And certainly not in the English language?