Amongst the most famous attractions in Bangkok, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha offers insights into the nation’s rich Buddhist heritage and is a must-visit on your trip to the Thai capital.
Planning a Visit
This temple can be found at the stunning Grand Palace complex within easy reach of properties like the Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel. To get here, take the Chao Phraya River Express Boat to Tha Chang pier and proceed from there by foot. For those based at Sukhumvit hotels, Bangkok sightseeing hotspots like the Grand Palace can also be reached via taxi.
A Bit of History
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is also called Wat Phra Kaew and dates to 1782 when it was established along with the Grand Palace by King Rama I. Interestingly, the Buddha image seen here was first found in 1464 in Chiang Rai, before it was taken to Lampang and subsequently, Chiang Mai. It was later taken to Laos as well before returning to Thailand.
A Marvellous Sight
The exterior of the temple is truly magnificent with distinctive elements like golden gilt carvings, various mosaics, colourful roof tiles and bronze bells. The Emerald Buddha which has been carved from jasper is only around 66 cm; it can be found within the ordination hall (ubosoth) on a throne of wood, while there are other statues to see here too.
Amongst the most captivating aspects of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is the magnificent murals which adorn the walls. The mural behind the main statue showcases a representation of the universe as per the understanding of Buddhist cosmology. The outer walls feature around 178 murals that depict scenes from Thailand’s version of the Ramayana, the Ramakien.