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Temples in (and around) Bangkok (Part 7)
Bangkok has hundreds of Temples ("Wats"). Once I thought it would be possible to photograph them all (over the years). I know better now. On these pages you find some of the most famous and beautiful Temples of Bangkok and direct surroundings.
Although I advise to browse through these pages in order, you can directly jump to any of the Temples shown on these pages by using the Temples Menu on the left.
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Wat Rajanadda (or whatever you like to spell it; some spell it Wat Rachanadda) is in the heart of Bangkok, close to the Democracy Monument and close to the Golden Mount, at Rachadamnoen Avenue. You can't miss it and you must have seen it, but did you enter this unique building of the Temple? This building is where a Buddha Relic is kept. Its original function is unclear to me. If you enter it you will agree with me that only a ceremonial function -like it has now- is very likely.
Its roof is made of solid metal (a copper alloy, I was told) and it seems to be the only building of its kind in the World. Two similar buildings elsewhere in Asia were lost.
The right hand side picture give you a bit closer look of the roof, that is decorated in Burmese style.
If you climb the stairs (after having taken off your shoes, of course) you find this shrine at the top with a Buddha Relic inside the dark colored vase.
Besides the Buddha Relic, the top of the building gives you a good view over Bangkok, with the Temple grounds in the foreground.
Behind this building you find the further Temple buildings of Wat Rajanadda and a Buddha Image and Amulet market.
I have been told by people who I believe know this, that this is not a good place for foreigners to buy things. We will be charged too much, unless -as always- we are experts in this field and know the market values of the Buddha Images and amulets sold there. Please remember that you need a permit to export a Buddha Image!
Wat Thepthidaram is located on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River. From the outside it is nothing special. The reason why I mention this Temple on these pages is that the famous Thai poet Sunthorn Phu lived here for some time, and his room can still be visited. The picture above shows the main Temple building.
Inside the main building is a beautiful Buddha Image, so you should go inside anyway, before proceeding to the Sunthorn Phu quarter.
The Buddha Image was decorated with white band, when I was there, because that same day a ceremony would take place to bless Buddha Images. They were all connected to the main Buddha Image of the Temple for that purpose. Thai people only want blessed Buddha Image in their homes. They buy them at a Temple, where they will also receive a certificate, or a picture of the ceremony, that proves when they were blessed.
Behind the main building of the Wat you find some quarters for Monks. A sign will tell you where Suthorn Phu lived. Inside his former room a small shrine has been made.
This waxen image of Sunthorn Phu is not placed at Wat Thepthidaram. It is at the Human Imagery Museum. Go to the second page of my pages about Phuttha Monthon Religious Park to see more about this museum.
Sunthorn Phu lived in the 19th Century and is considered the greatest poet Thailand ever had.
I end this page with a few pictures of Wat Prayunrawongsawat, better known as Wat Prayoon (or -if you prefer that- Wat Prayun). If you have read my experience about Lamphun, you may remember that my wife insisted that a Temple over there was called Wat Prayoon, which appeared not to be the case. However, the existence of a Temple in Bangkok with that (popular) name, proves that her idea was not so bad after all!
Above you see the sign pointing at Wat Prayoon, as well as its entrance. This Wat is located at the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River. The buildings of this Wat are of no importance. The reason why you should visit it, when not too far from there, are the turtles.
The cemetery (burying grounds) of Wat Prayoon is a beautiful garden (left hand side picture) with lots of turtles living in it.
The story goes that King Rama III once saw the shape of this garden in the molten wax of a burning candle and he had the Temple garden made according to what he saw in his vision. The turtles (probably) were not part of this vision. They have been bought nearby and then were released in the Temple pond. Releasing animals give you merit, according to Thai belief.
As said, the Temple building is hardly worth the while and is in bad condition.
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