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June, 2004

Thailand photo.
Reclining Buddha
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— Wat Pho

A Bhuddist temple in Thailand is called a wat. The wats are often very elaborate complexes containing many buildings within a walled enclosure. All that we have seen have been extravagantly decorated in gold, mother-of-pearl, bits of broken pottery, and mirrors. Wat Pho (or Wat Po) is Thailand's oldest and largest wat. It also contains the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand (see photo at left). Here is another view of the Buddha.

The pottery pieces used to decorate many of the wat structures came from China. Chinese trading ships used broken pottery as ballast, unloading it in Thailand when they took on cargoes to take to China. The Thais sorted the pottery bits by color, and used them to form mosaic decorations on many wat buildings. Here are a few photos from Wat Pho:

belfrey  | chedi  | gate  | guard  | guard2  | detail




Thailand photo.
The Marble Temple
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— Wat Benchama Bophit

This wat is the most recent of the Royal temples, and was built from Italian marble. It is known to tourists as the Marble Temple. The main building, or bot, is truly beautiful. It is particularly impressive as there is a large open area in front of the building, allowing a clear view. Many of the temple compounds are so crowded with structures that you can't really see the temple as a complete building. Here are a few photos from Wat Benchama Bophit:

entrance  | Buddha  | roof  | drum  | bridge




Thailand photo.
Wat Arun
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— Wat Arun

Wat Arun is named for the Indian god of dawn, Aruna, and is known as the Temple of Dawn. It is best seen from the middle of the Chao Phraya River (photo at left). The temple is located on the western bank of the river. We took a ferry from the pier at Tha Thien for 2 baht each. The temple area is highly developed with vendors selling all sorts of food and trinkets.

The temple consists of a central prang surrounded by 4 smaller prangs and 4 mondops at the cardinal compass points (north, east, etc.) Here are a few more photos from Wat Arun:




Thailand photo.
Wat Saket

 
— Index —

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— Wat Saket

Wat Saket includes the Golden Mount, an artificial hill topped by a large golden chedi. Until the construction of skyscrapers in the 1960's, the Golden Mount was the tallest structure in Bangkok. The first attempt failed when the soft soil failed and the temple collapsed. The present Golden Mount was built on the ruins of the first. Climbing the mount provides a panoramic view of Bangkok. Unfortunately, this mostly means looking out over a sea of rusting metal roofs. On the day of our visit, the weather was rainy and overcast; we were not able to see very far through the haze.

Here are a few more photos of the Golden Mount:

waterfall  | cemetery  | view  | roof

 

 

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Jim and Jamie Richter, http://gotouring.com/razzledazzle/
Website designed and created by Lois Richter, expanded by Jim.
Created 6/2004. All photos are © 2004 Jim Richter.