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Ranking high among the many attractions of Bangkok is the Wat Benchamabophit also known as the Wat Ben or the ‘Marble Temple”. Wat Benchamabophit gets its name from the gleaming white Carrara Italian marble used to build it. It is one of the most modern and most beautiful of the Royal Wats in Bangkok and has distinctive European designs melded with Thai temple architecture.
The official name of Wat Benchamabophit is Wat Benchamabophit Dusitwanaram meaning the Monastery of the Fifth King near Dusit Palace. The Fifth King referred here is King Chulalongkorn the Great or Rama V. King Rama V had the Dusit Palace built and following this in 1899 he commissioned the building of a marble temple in a neighbouring site which had once housed an old temple complex dating from the early 19 century and where the King had been ordained as a monk for a little while in 1873.
The entrance to Wat Benchamabophit has four marble pillars which are extremely impressive. The large courtyard is also made of gleaming marble. The interior design is a mix of Thai and European styles. Red carpets , gold motifs, walls painted to resemble stained glass windows and a wall of royal blue behind the central Buddha image are features of European influence.
Prince Narisara Nurativongse , the step brother of King Chulalongkorn was the designer of the ubosot or ordination hall of the Wat Benchamabophit..
The Phra Buddha Chinnarat Buddha image is the main Buddha image here. It is a copy of the original Phra Buddha Chinnarat, a 7 century old image housed in the Phitsanulok province temple named Wat Phra Si Ratthana Mahathat. The ashes of Thailand’s great King Rama V lie buried under the Phra Buddha Chinnarat Buddha image at Wat Benchamabophit. On the walls to the left and right of this central Buddha Statue are paintings of Important Thai stupas.
A Bo Tree brought over from Buddhagaya in India is planted behind the ubosot.
Fifty tow Buddha images of diverse periods and styles are displayed in the galleries around the ubosot including Ayutthaya, Sukhothai and Dvaravati styles.
The Wat Benchamabophit is located at the intersection of Thanon Rama V and Thanon Si Ayutthaya.
A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, Amira Ghaffoor ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought. Her interests include Politics, law and Philosophy. If you see Joanna James enchanting many readers, do know it’s her.