There was yet much more to see and enjoy at the Wat Pho Buddhist Temple in Bangkok Officially it’s known as Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn, no wonder it has an easier to remember common name!
Wat Pho is associated with King Rama I who rebuilt the temple on a previous temple site. Construction began in 1788 and took over seven years to complete. In 1932, King Rama III renovated and enlarged the temple complex.
The temple grounds contain 91 small stupas, four great stupas, called chedis, two tall belfries, a number of other buildings, pavilions, halls and gardens as well as the central shrine, the main hall used for performing Buddhist rituals, the most sacred building of the complex.
I understand that these bell like structures, called Phra Chedi Rai, contain the ashes of members of the royal family of Thailand. They are beautifully decorated.
Real flowers enhance the carved floral decorations.
There are approximately 1,000 Buddha statues in the various pavilions, some with bright shining new gilding and recently redecorated ‘cushions’. The one on the left, by contrast, is need of a ‘shine up’! A constant maintenance program is required in the temple.
The black Buddha contrasts starkly with the newly gilded statues on either side. The black Buddha has been lacquered in preparation for its new coat of gold leaf.
The craftsman is preparing this statue for gilding.
Spreading the lacquer also fills small imperfections and is applied with great care.
Some very different stone statues hold up a very tall, very heavy structure.
…and here it is!
Just before we leave Wat Pho, let’s take a closer look at some of those traditional roof decorations. They’re made up of tiny coloured mirror tiles.
I’ve heard it said that, if you only visit one temple during your time in Bangkok, this is the one… the architecture is fascinating and the decorations are indeed beautiful.
After the Wat Pho temple visit finished there were a number of options to select from to fill in the rest of the afternoon. I chose a tuk tuk drive through the busy streets to get me back to my hotel to chill out for the afternoon.
A shower was very welcome after wandering around in temperatures in the high 30’s with very high humidity. Later, I ventured across the road and had a very relaxing massage. I didn’t opt for a Thai massage as it bends and pulls your body into all sorts of unnatural positions. I’m a little bit too old to be bent double, who knows what may break! But I‘m not too old to happily pay THB350 (about AUD14, plus a THB100 tip) to a masseuse for a relaxing oil massage.
Next, it was time to wash off some of that oil and be in the lobby ready to go to the train station for our 12 hour overnight train ride to our next destination – Surat Thani, about 700 km. away. We were loaded into mini-vans and trundled off in the direction of the station, which wasn’t all that far away, but with Bangkok traffic as it is, it’s impossible to predict travelling times accurately. As it turned out we made the trip in double quick time, notwithstanding the small, small accident we had along the way. We bumped into the vehicle in front when it stopped suddenly. Actually, the downward movement of our vehicle on stopping suddenly caused the contact. Next to no damage with both drivers smiling when they got back into their respective vehicles.
I have added a short video of my time in Bangkok:
Our next destination was Surat Thani… more of that anon.
All photographs copyright © DY of jtdytravels
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