The fame of Wat Traimit in Bangkok’s China Town is entirely due to its solid gold statue of the seated Buddha housed there. Said to be the largest such statue in the world, the three meter high statue weighs a hefty 5.5 tons. Although it displays all the hallmarks of the 14th century Sukhothai style, no one is sure whether it originated during the period or is a later work. The statue can be separated into nine pieces. The gold content in the various pieces differ. Its current worth is estimated at US$ 250 million. The chic, modern, well appointed apartments of Citadenes Sukhumvit 11 Bangkok is the ideal base from which to explore city attractions such as Wat Traimit.
Various theories have been promulgated as to its origin. According to one, the statue is thought to have been cast in parts in India and assembled in Sukhothai and then moved to Ayutthaya. Another theory dates it to the time of King Khamhaeng because a gold Buddha statue located in the middle of Sukhothai city is mentioned in a stone inscription. Whatever it is the statue was plastered over, painted and bits of coloured glass stuck on it to prevent robbery. It is believed this happened before Ayutthaya was destroyed in the mid 18th century. The statue appears to have remained in Ayutthaya until the 19th century when the new capital was established in Bangkok and Buddha statues from around Thailand were brought to be installed in the new temples there. The statue was first at Wat Chotonaram and when that fell into disrepair was brought to its present location in 1935 and was under a tin roof for lack of a big enough indoor space to house it. An adequate structure was only constructed in the 1950s and during the move to its new quarters the statue appears to have fallen and chipped its plaster covering displaying the now famous golden statue underneath. In 2010 the statue received a very grand new home at Wat Traimit that also houses the Bangkok Chinatown Heritage Centre. The pieces of the plaster that covered it for over 200 years are displayed alongside it. Being close to transport links the Sukhumvit serviced apartments of Citadenes offers hassle free ways of moving around the city.
Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Caliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered.Google+