Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bangkok Chronicles Four: Throne Halls and Temples

Wednesday, March 18, 2009
From the Tha Chang Pier, we followed the throng of tourists marching towards the Grand Palace. It was so breathtakingly magnificent that I don’t think I have the words to adequately describe it.

The Grand Palace complex was established in 1782 and it houses not only the royal residence and throne halls, but also a number of government offices as well as the renowned Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It covers an area of 218,000 square meters and is surrounded by four walls, 1900 meters in length.

The Upper Terrace (with the Phra Mondop in the middle, a repository for Buddhist sacred scriptures); the Phra Wiharn Yod (which contains a number of Buddha images); and a miniature of the Angkor Wat

The imposing Phra Siratana Chedi (a reliquary in the form of a golden chedi)

The Royal Pantheon (Prasat Phra Monthian Dharma) in which statues of past sovereigns of the ruling Chakri dynasty are enshrined

What amazes me most among these structures is the intricacy of detail devoted to each piece:

North of the royal residence and linked by a connecting gateway lies the Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha, one of the most venerated sites in Thailand where people convene and pay respect to the Lord Buddha and His Teachings.

The Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha

The Chakri Maha Prasat Hall (built in 1882 and consists of the Central Throne Hall and two wings)

The Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall is furnished by an exquisite mother-of-pearl inlaid throne surmounted by a
nine-tiered white canopy, a symbol of the duly crowned king. Its principle function has been and still is a hall for the lying-in-state of kings, queens, and honored members of the royal family

The Dusit Maha Prasat Hall and the Amphorn Phimok Pavillion

From the Grand
Palace and back to the Tha Chang Pier, we took a cross-river ferry to Wat Arun (Wat Arunratchawararam), a royal temple located on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River.

Its central prang (pagoda) towers to 66.8 meters and climbing up the steep stairs halfway to the top is really scary - and more so, going down.

The central prang, satellite prangs and porches (mondop) are all completely covered in thousands of porcelain and china decorations in a myriad of patterns… with some portions artistically highlighted by seashells, pieces of dishes or the traditional five-colored Thai chinaware known as benjarong.
If Wat Arun is impressive during daytime, it is equally so, or even more, at night. Here’s a photo of Wat Arun taken from a restaurant across the river, The Deck at Wat Arun Residence, where D and I had a lovely dinner overlooking the river.

(The guide pamphlets and maps provided at the Grand Palace and Wat Arun served as reference for all information contained in this post.)


Amelia said...

the temple are so magnificent! I can't imagine how they build that with all those details :)

Kayni said...

oh i was so looking forward to the temple photos. i'd love to see these ones one day. awesome shots!

Anonymous said...

I was waiting for "Anonymous" to comment before me as I am trying to figure out who the mystery man is. Just kidding -- great post, I am glad you had a good time in Bangkok.

jacqueline said...

magnificent temples! :) hail to the geniuses who built them.

Anonymous said...

these are rectal-cranial bending pictures indeed. :)

Angeli said...

hi agnes. thank you. we truly had a great time there. :)

hi jac. it makes you ask how come we don't have those here in the philippines, huh?

hey anonymous. what do you mean by rectal-cranial bending? :)

e[k]stranghero said...

wow. these are places i only came across in books and some travel magazines. galing! wish i could visit such places in my lifetime.

Angeli said...

hi e[k]stranhero. maybe someday you will.

anyway, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. :)

Anonymous said...

Great temples. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos. I wish to set foot in these, too.

~ fren ~ said...

what camera are you using? great shots!:)

Angeli said...

Thanks Fren. I just used a point-and-click digital camera.

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