Wat Phra Kaew, better known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Si Ratana Satsadaram), is located within a separate complex in the compound of the Grand Palace that was consecrated in 1982.
The 945,000 square meter ground encompass over 100 buildings that represent more than 200 years of royal history and architectural experimentation. Most of the architecture, royal or sacred, can be classified Ratanakosin or old Bangkok style, with minor variations such as the Emerald Buddha for which Wat Phra Keaw is named.
Supposedly this is Thailand’s holiest shrine and visitors from all over the world come here to see the impressive statue of the Emerald Buddha and the compounds beautiful and breathtaking architectures.
Attractions – what to see
Wat Phra Kaew’s main attraction is the statue of the Emerald Buddha which lies within the Grand Palace, displayed in a huge bot built expressly to house the diminutive figure. The statue is placed on top of a huge golden altar right in the center of the temple, measuring just 66cm, dark and made of green jasper.
It is interesting to note the seasonal change of the statue’s dress. Like many other Buddha statues in Thailand, the Emerald Buddha is covered in a seasonal costume – one to be worn in the hot season and one for the rainy season.
It was King Rama I, when he moved to new Thai capital in Bangkok, who had these two royal robes made for it. Later, King Rama III added another seasonal robe to be worn in the cool season. These three robes are still solemnly changed at the beginning of each season by the king himself.
It is told that there are miracles associated with the Emerald Buddha, which makes it a more holy place enhancing the reputation of Wat Phra Kaew. The temple is visited by thousands of Buddhists who pay their respects in front of the image of Buddha here, considered so holy.
What Phra Keaw is also a visual treat for visitors interested in Thai tradition and architecture. Some of the finest examples of Buddhist sculpture, painting, architecture and decoration can be discovered here. The portico surrounding the shrine shows finest art of work of Thai craftsmanship.
The walls inside the compound have decorated ornate murals which have pictorial depictions of the Ramakien, the Thai national epic. To the north of the library, within the palace grounds, is a model of Angkor Wat, which is supposed to be the most sacred of Cambodian shrines in Thailand.
For those who want to learn more and get a deeper insight into the temple’s Emerald Buddha and the temple itself have the opportunity to take a guided tour for a better understanding of ancient Buddhist culture and history. Tickets can be purchased directly at the entrance.
History of Wat Phra Kaew
It is believed that the statue of the Emerald Buddha within this shrine had its origins from Sri Lanka. Art historians though are of the belief that the statue was a product of the 14th-century Thai architecture.
Construction work for this temple has started in 1782, coinciding with the year of foundation of Bangkok.
The main statue is in Emerald; it is 66 cm tall made of jadeite and supposedly the most sacred of all Buddha images made in Thailand.
After traveling through several hands and several places finally in 1784, King Rama I reinstalled the precious image of the Emerald Buddha in the present temple. The temple is a symbol of Thai reverence and tradition since then.
The image and the shrine were also supposed to reinstate the dynastic rule of the Chakri dynasty in Thailand.
Appropriate clothing is mandatory. No tank tops, shorts and sandals (unless with socks) are allowed within the compound. A clothing service booth is available for visitors that are improperly dressed.
No photographs are allowed inside the Emerald Buddha Chapel.
It is advised to ignore people calming the museum is closed for ‘Buddhist holiday’ or any other reasons, and asking if you would like to see another place instead. They are most probably part of the sophisticated gem and jewelry scam.
Opening Time: 8.00am – 5.00pm
Entrance Fee: 100 Baht per person
Location: Phra Nakhon
Phone Number: 02-225-9595