Wat Pho

Wat Pho

Wat Phrachetupon Vimonmankalaram Rajawaramahavihara (Wat Pho) | First Class Royal Temple | Presiding Buddha Image: Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn | Temple of King Rama I Phrabat Somdet Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok

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Wat Phrachetupon Vimonmankalaram (Wat Pho) is listed as the highest grade of the First Class Royal Temples in Thailand. Wat Pho was built during the Ayutthaya period, around 1688 of King Phra Phetraja to Phra Narai Maharat. It was just a small temple in Bang Pakok, Thonburi. The Locals called the temple “Wat Pho”. When the King Taksin Maharat moved the capital to Thonburi, the temple proximity was right in the heart of the Royal palace (Set Chao Phraya river as the centre of the city), so it was given the title Phra Aram Lung or a Royal Temple.

During the King Rama I period, the first king of Chakri Dynasty, the capital was again moved to Rattanakosin side across the Chao Phraya river to Bangkok. King Rama I ordered a full restoration of the temple and also announced that the temple was his Royal temple. The temple has 50 Rai and 38 Wa , located on the south of the Grand Palace, the north to Tai Wang road, the east to Sanamchai road and the south to Setakarn road.

During the restoration, King Rama I initiated that there were a lot of Buddha images were abandoned around the temples in Ayutthaya, Sukhothai and others provinces of Thailand, so he sent his men to gather those Buddha images back to Wat Pho. After 7 years 5 months and 28 days of restoration the temple was renamed “Wat Phrachetupon Vimonmankalavas”. The temple was given a new name during King Rama IV to “Wat Phrachetupon Vimolmangklaram”.

The Uposatha Hall
The Uposatha Hall, the Assembly Hall for performing the monastic ritual, was constructed in the reign of King Rama I in Ayutthaya style. It was then reconstructed and enlarged during the reign of King Rama III. All sheltered windows and doors are made of hard wood with crown–like spires and colour-glazed tiles. Inlays of mother–of–pearl on the outer side of the entrance door panels depict episodes from the Ramakien (the Thai version of the Ramayana – the world famous Indian epic); while on the inner side are painted specimens of ecclesiastical fans of rank which are presented to the monk sovereigns.

The Presiding Buddha image is "Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn" in a gesture of seated Buddha on a three tiered pedestal called Phra Pang Smardhi (Lord Buddha in the posture of concentration), and some ashes of King Rama I are kept under the pedestal. The mural paintings in the hall depict Mahosatha Pandita (The Great Bachelor of Mithila City), The heavens, and Phra Etadagga a disciple. On the middle tier there are two images of the Original Disciples, while the eight effigies of the Holy Priests stand on the lowest pedestal. Inside panels of the windows are decorated with lacquer work of the seals of these monastery dignitaries (in the reign of King Rama III).

Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn
Presiding Buddha Image

Previously, Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn was the Presiding Buddha image of Wat Sala Si Na or Wat Khuha Sawan. After the main chapel of Wat Phrachetupon was completed, King Rama I ordered to take the Buddha image to enshrine in the main chapel and renamed as “Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn”.

During the reign of King Rama III, the main chapel was enlarged and pedestal of the Buddha image was rebuilt. Besides, King Rama III ordered to cast 2 new statues of Phra Arahant of which formerly there were 8 statues in the main chapel.

After King Rama IV’s accession to the throne, he had the Royal Precession in 1851 A.D. He visited Wat Phrachetupon and paid respect with offerings to Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn for the first time. Since then, it has been the royal tradition of the monarch to pay respect to Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn on the Royal Procession. Later, King Rama IV ordered to keep the ashes of King Rama I in the pedestal of Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn. Hence, Wat Phrachetupon became the monastery of King Rama I.

Art Style oh Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn
The Buddha image is in a sitting position with legs crossed appears in the attitude of Meditation. The hands are folded on the lap with the palm of the right hand facing upwards. The face is round with a little square chin, thick arched eyebrows, eyes gazing downward, long ears, thick lips, curly hair and a flame-shaped aureole. The robe is draped over the left shoulder and the large shawl is extended to the navel appearing the art style of Ayutthaya.

Location
Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Thailand.

Transportation
Bus Nos. 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 25, 32, 44, 47, 48, 53, 82
Air-conditioned bus Nos. 1, 6, 7, 8, 12, 44, 48
Chao Phraya Express boat. Get off at Tha Chang pier, Tha Tien Pier or Pak Klong Talad Pier, then walk through Thai Wang Road entrance.

Opening hours
The Temple is Open Daily from 08:30 A.M. – 06.30 P.M.
Admission fee: 100 Baht
Free entry for children under the height of 120 cm. (4 feet)

Special Thanks to Khun Naifah Chandrabhaya, Mr.Stephen Jaggs editor.

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