The famed Temple of the Reclining Buddha, or “Wat Pho” as it is known in the local language, has the distinction of being Bangkok’s most expansive temple and houses the immense and magnificent reclining Buddha statue. This place of worship is also renowned as the place of origin of the traditional Thai techniques of massage.
The shrine is also one of the oldest temples in the Thai capital and houses in excess of 1,000 individual Buddha statues. The walled complex to the north houses the massive Buddha image and the school for massage. On the other side, the southern compound functions as a full-fledged Buddhist temple with residential monks and a place of instruction. External to the temple, you will see numerous small stupas, a central shrine and four halls (viharas). The smaller stupas contain the ashes of members of the royalty, whilst the larger stupas are considered to house the ashes of the Buddha. The complex is surrounded by sixteen gates, each featuring guardian figures in the shape of rock-hewn Chinese giants.
The external cloister features numerous Buddha figures in diverse positions and styles, all positioned on similar gilded foundations. The principal temple building is positioned on a marble foundation, with gateways adorned with figures of lions. The external banisters are decorated with many illustrations from the epic narrative, the Ramakien. The temple’s highlight, the enormous reclining Buddha figure measures no less than 46m in length and is completely covered in shiny gold leaf. The right arm of the figure supports the head, with two pillows inlaid with patterns of glass. A special feature is the huge feet of the statue, which are ornamented with mother-of-pearl inscriptions. These images depict the unique auspicious signs of the Buddha such as white elephants, flowers, dancers, tigers and other symbols.
Visitors may take the opportunity to obtain a genuine Thai massage at the massage centre. This kind of massage is very invigorating, and is said to enhance blood circulation and ease stress. Travellers desiring a quality Bangkok hotel will find what they seek in the Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Bangkok. This fine Sukhumvit hotel provides comfortable accommodations and attentive hospitality.
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.