Tipped to be one of the most architecturally stunning temple edifices in all of Bangkok Wat Benchamabophit is a larger than life Buddhist structure in the Thai capital. Affectionately dubbed the Marble Temple due to its gleaming exterior this captivating religious space is also one of the most frequented temples in the popular Asian touristic hub. Quietly nestled in the Dusit region of Bangkok this sprawling temple complex was constructed as far back as 1899 during the reign of King Chulalongkorn who also commissioned its construction. Records state that Wat Benchamabophit was built after the completion of the king’s own private palace which is located nearby. The close connection between the two structures is indicated by the temple’s name which literally translates to “the temple of the fifth monarch next to Dusit Palace”.
Designed and conceptualized by none other than the monarch’s half brother Prince Naris the venue was constructed almost entirely of marble imported from Italy. Hence its more popular nick name as the Marble Temple was established in the hearts and minds of Thais. A stunning architectural feat the locale contains a marble square as well as marble (Carrarra) columns and two lion heads at its entrance. The interior décor of the temple is equally ornate with gold and lacquer painted crossbeams while various niches in the walls feature paintings of Thailand’s principal stupas.
The Ubosot or the ordination hall is another point of interest which features a Buddha image dubbed the Phra Buddhajinaraja, inspired by Phitsanulok’s Phra Buddha Chinarat at Wat Mahathat temple. Displaying classic Sukhothai stylistic elements it is believed that the ashes of the temple’s founding monarch are buried beneath the image which is surrounded by an impressive collection of 52 Buddha sculptures, in different poses or mudras. The 52 images are attributed to the personal collection of Prince Damrong Rajanubhab who collected the statues for his king.
The venue is also home to the Benchamabophit National Museum while the most significant festivals conducted at the temple include the Visakha Puja and the Maha Puja which takes place in May and February respectively.
Travellers in search of a five star Bangkok hotel will find no greater alternative to the Anantara Bangkok Sathorn. Providing guests a resplendent hideaway in the heart of city this stylish rest is justifiably ranked among the best hotels Bangkok has on offer.
Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.