Bangkok’s magnificent Wat Arun, known as ‘Temple of the Dawn’ is one of the Thai capital’s most esteemed Buddhist temples. The place of worship gains its name via the Hindu deity Aruna, who is represented by the rays of the emerging sun at dawn. In fact it is thought that the shrine may be so called because the gleaming morning sun is reflected by the temple with a shining iridescence.
The temple lays claim to a long history, since a Buddhist shrine has existed at the location since the era of the Ayutthaya monarchy. Initially known as Wat Makok, the place of worship was renamed as Wat Chaeng by Thai monarch Taksin. This temple housed the highly venerated Emerald Buddha at one time. After a long period of neglect and decay, the temple was restored by King Rama II who renovated the shrine and constructed a new pagoda.
Today the most conspicuous feature of Wat Arun is its majestic prang (tower) which rises majestically to the heavens. This main structure is encircled by four smaller prang. Each of the towers is adorned with pieces of porcelain and seashells which were brought to Bangkok by merchant vessels arriving from China. The main Buddha figure is thought to have been cast by King Rama II himself. The monarch’s ashes are housed beneath the statue.
The imposing towers are buttressed by numerous rows of monkey and demon figures. A set of narrow and very steep steps ascend to an upper tier on the main tower. The central prang is surmounted by a seven-pointed trident and around the tower’s base are numerous images of ancient Chinese warriors and animals. Above the second terrace you will see four figures of the Hindu deity Indra astride his mount Erawan.
Next to the central prang the visitor will encounter the handsome Ordination Hall with its imposing Buddha figure. In front of the hall you will see guardian figures in the shape of two demons. Numerous murals will also be seen here.
Travellers to the Thai capital looking for a quality Bangkok resort will find an outstanding choice in the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa. One of the fine 5 star hotels in Bangkok, this convenient accommodation offers well-furnished rooms and attentive hospitality.
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.