As hard as the name 'Wat Phra Kaew' is to pronounce for those of us who do not speak Thai, it is easily the most recognized name in Thailand. The name 'Wat Phra Kaew' is translated as the 'Temple of the Emerald Buddha'. This Thai temple is considered the most holy of all temples in Thailand and is a potent religio-political symbol of the Thai society. It is located within the precincts of the Grand Palace at the heart of Bangkok. Planning to visit the temple? Read the following interesting facts about Wat Phra Kaew and maybe you will appreciate your tour more.
1. The statue of the Emerald Buddha is housed in the main building of the temple. The building is known as Ubosoth.
2. The image of the Emerald Buddha is traces its roots to 5 centuries ago in India where the Lord Buddha attained Nirvana and was enshrined in Wat Phra Kaew temple in 1782 during Rama I's reign (1782–1809).
3. The transfer of the Emerald Buddha to Thailand marked the beginning of power consolidation by the Chakri Dynasty over the Kingdom of Thailand. The present day king is called Rama IX and is part of the dynasty.
4. Except for the Thai king, no other person is allowed to touch the green emerald statue of the Emerald Buddha housed in the temple.
5. Legend has it that the temple was known as "Wat Pa Yia" or The Bamboo Forest Monastery.
6. The temple is built with a style called Rattanakosin style (old Bangkok style) and is made in the image of the temple in ancient capital of Ayudhya.
7. The entrance to the temple is guarded by a pair of yakshis (mythical giants – 5 meters (16 ft.) high statues).
8. To enter the temple, you must dress appropriately. Men must wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts and shoes; women must wear long skirts. If dressed otherwise, you can rent appropriate clothing. You will not be allowed to enter the temple if inappropriately dressed.
9. It is compulsory to remove your shoes when entering the temple. It is seen as a sign of respect to Buddha.
10. If you want to say prayers in the temple, your feet should be neatly tucked. You should never extend your legs towards the deity.
If you want to feel like you are in the presence of divinity, there is no better place on earth to do this than in Wat Phra Kaew. If you want to study the history of Buddhism, this temple is the best place to gather the information. The fact that you can also explore the Grand Palace when on a tour to the temple adds to the temple's allure. If you are yet to explore Bangkok, start with a bang at this temple.
For more information on Accommodation in Bangkok and Flights to Thailand, please contact one of the Travel Specialists at North South Travel today