Wat Pho is a famous temple located just south of the Grand Palace grounds in Bangkok. The place is renowned for being the headquarters of teaching and preserving traditional Thai medicine. The temple is mainly visited to see the great reclining Buddha inside, also known as the “Temple of the Reclining Buddha”. Covering a vast area of 8 hectares, Wat Pho or Wat Chetuphon is a Buddhist place of worship built by King Rama I. Wat Pho was a healing centre when it was founded centuries ago. made by King Rama III.
Although the origins of Wat Pho are largely unknown, the temple is believed to have existed before 1782. At that time, King Rama I moved the capital from Siam (as Thailand used to be called) to Bangkok. In 1789 Rama I ordered a complete restoration of the old temple ruins. Many Buddha images were removed from abandoned temples elsewhere in Thailand and placed in Wat Pho, originally called Wat Photaram. Wat Pho underwent many changes in the years that followed, particularly during the reign of King Rama III, who undertook a major restoration and expansion of the temple complex in 1832.
The process took 16 years. Most of today’s structures were built or remodelled during this period. The temple also developed into a centre of learning and art simultaneously. In 2008, Wat Pho received the Memory of the World Award. From UNESCO and is now considered one of the biggest attractions in Thailand.
The temple is known as Thailand’s first “university” and is still considered a place of healing. Today, tourists come here to admire the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, as it is called. The Buddha idol is so big that you can only see parts of it. The 45 m long and 15 m high statue is set with precious stones on the soles and decorated with 108 symbols of true faith. The idol’s earlobes signify a noble birth, while the lotus bud configuration of the hand symbolizes purity and beauty.
The temple also houses the country’s most extensive collection of Buddha statues. The place is a sight to behold if you’re willing to walk a bit.
Wat Pho Significance:
Wat Pho is believed to be Thailand’s first public university and houses the remains of the first four Chakri kings. Two of Wat Pho’s highlights are a Bodhi tree, believed to have grown from part of the sacred tree in Bodhgaya, India, and the giant reclining Buddha in Thailand. The 108 bronze bowls in the chapel represent 108 auspicious qualities of the Buddha, and tossing coins into these bowls is believed to bring luck and fortune. The importance of this place lies in the fact that it has preserved the legacy of the Chakri Dynasty and is a repository of Thai art, culture and knowledge.
Much of the architecture at Wat Pho is in the Ayutthayan style. Although many of today’s buildings were brought over from the remains of the Ayutthaya temple city, there are other chedis (stupas/mounds) and buildings varying in architectural styles in the complex. The temple’s centrepiece is a giant reclining Buddha statue, whose feet are inlaid with mother-of-pearl and feature auspicious symbols. Aside from the golden structures, marble interior and more than 1000 Buddha images, several impressive Chinese stone statues surround the grounds. Some of these statues also represent the Europeans guarding the gates within the complex.
- Wat Pho is a sacred location wherein non-secular rites and rituals are performed, so make sure you hold calm and talk well when you input the temple premises.
- Respect the pics of Buddha, chorus from touching or stepping on one.
- Only accredited employees can climb up a statue to smooth or location offerings.
- Follow the get dressed code. Avoid carrying garments above your knees.
- A sarong will be bought or rented outdoors at the temple. Take off your footwear earlier than coming into non-secular buildings.
- A water bottle and WiFi are protected withinside the price tag price. Carry a manual book/map to avoid getting fooled by using the tuk-tuk drivers and guys to assist for their benefit.