Wat Phra Kaew & Thailand Temples

The most visited temple in Bangkok kingdom of Thailand.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Wat Phra Pathom Chedi, Nakhon Pathom Thailand

Wat Phra Pathom ChediOn coming toward the Nakhon Pathom city, the first glimpse of the towering Phra Pathom Chedi is overpowering. lt is one of the largest pagodas in the world and in Thailand, by far the most holy of all Buddhist structures. The original pagoda was constructed more than 2,000 years ago in the stupa design of an upside down bowl shape. A replica of the original pagoda stands south of the present one. ln the year 1853, King Rama lV commanded the reconstruction of a new huge pagoda covering the original one. lt has a height of 120.45 metres and a total length of 234,75 metres around the base. A nearby museum contains a wealth of priceless relics and many of the stone carvings found in and around Nakhon Pathom. At the four points of the compass in the outer courtyard are four Wiharas (halls) containing images of Buddha in various postures.

Location: Nakhon Pathom, Central Thailand.

Source : thaibuddhist.com

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Glossary of Thai Temple Terms (Part 2)

A Naga is a representation of a mystical serpent that according to the holy scripts sheltered the Buddha while he was meditating. In temple architecture, it runs down the edge of the roof, or, especially in Lanna (North of Thailand) temples, flanks the staircase that ascends to the Viharn or Bot. In sculptures, it is depicted sheltering the head of the Buddha with its own. Beautiful representations of Nagas are known from Khmer art, as found in the Khmer ruins in the Northeast of Thailand.
NagaNagas on a Viharn in Wat Chiang Mun, Chiang Mai

A Prang is an Ayuthayan or Khmer-style Chedi that is high and slim and looks like a vertical ear corn. Many of the Chedis in Wat Phra Kaew or Wat Po in Bangkok are Prangs.
PrangsPrangs in Wat Mahathat, Petchaburi

A Sala is an open-sided pavillion. Some Viharns are built in this style.

A Viharn is a sermon hall. It is usually the busiest building in a Wat and open to everyone (provided the visitor behaves according to the temple etiquette!: you must be properly dressed, take off your shoes before entering a building and behave quietly) Just like the Bots, Viharns hold an altar and one or several Buddha images.

A Wat is a Thai Buddhist temple or monastery. In most cases it is not just one building, but a collection of buildings, shrines, and monuments within a courtyard that is enclosed by a wall.

Source : inm-asiaguides.com

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Glossary of Thai Temple Terms (Part 1)

The Bot (also called Ubosoth) is the ordination hall of a Wat. It is the place where new monks take their vows. You can recognize a building as a Bot by the six boundary stones (Bai Sema) that define the limits of its sanctuary. Bots are usually open only to the monks. Inside are always an altar and one or several Buddha images.

A Chedi (a different term would be stupa or pagoda) is a domed edifice, often quite tall, under which relics of the Buddha or revered religious teachers are buried.Chedi
Burmese Style Chedi in Wat Phra That Haripunchai in Lamphun

Chofahs are the bird-like decorations on the end of the temple roofs. If you visit the Museum of the Emerald Buddha near the Grand Palace in Bangkok you can see examples of chofahs displayed in glass cases in the ground floor and have a closer look at them. Chofahs are often decorated with little bells that tinkle in the wind.Chofah
A Temple Roof in Wat Chalong, Phuket Island - You can clearly see the Chofahs

Ho Trai
The Ho Trai (also transcripted as "Ho Phra") is the library of the Wat. It is usually a very small, highly decorated building. In the Central Plains it often sits on columns in a pond . The holy scripts and sacred manuscripts of the Wat are kept inside.

A Mondop (also called Mandapa) is a baldachin structure that has in some temples been erected above the library with the sacred Buddhist scripts.

Continue Part 2

Source : inm-asiaguides.com

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wat Benchamabophit Bangkok (The Marble Temple)

Ubosot Hall of Wat BenchamabophitWat Benchamabophit, also known as the Marble Temple, this temple is on Sri Ayutthaya Road near the Chitralada Palace. The temple is well-known because its main building was constructed during the reign of King Rama V, as the source of religious heritage for the future generations of Thais. It employs European ecclesiastic details, such as stained glass windows, and contains a superb cloister collection of bronze Buddha images. The main shrine was originally intended to house a highly sacred and revered Budddha image known as Phra Buddha Shinaraja, which at the time was located in the province of Phitsanulok (approximately 300 km north of Bangkok). But when construction of the Marble Temple was complete, a replicate of the Phra Buddha Shinaraja was created and enshrined in the temple instead, due to that the people of Phitsanulok and northern Thailand were unwilling to part with their Buddha image, the main source of their religious inspiration.

Phra Buddhajinaraja of Wat BenchamabophitThe Marble Temple, built entirely out of white marble as its name suggests, manifests the devotion that Thai people have for Buddhism. The architectural and engineering detail put in to the construction of the Wat Benchamabophit is rare by modern standards.

The best time to visit this temple is early in the morning when Buddhist monks are chanting inside the chapel. The interior of the main building is magnificently decorated with cross beams of lacquer and gold. A large collection of Bronze Buddha lines the walls of the spacious inner courtyard. Once the visitor enters the temple grounds, he or she will experience a sensation of tranquility and peace.

Location: Wat Benchamabophit is on the corner of Si Ayutthaya Road and Rama V Road.
Getting There: Bus Nos. 2 (air-con)
Opening Hours: Open to visitors until 5:00 P.M. every day
Admission: 30 baht
Telephone: 02 - 2812501

Source : hellosiam.com

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