Wat Devarajkunchon

Wat Devarajkunchon

Wat Devarajkunchon Waravihara | Third Class Royal Temple | Presiding Buddha Image: Phra Buddha Devaraj Patimakorn

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Built in 1307 during the Ayutthaya period, Wat Devarajkunchon Waravihara was initially a people’s temple known among the locals as Wat Samaw-kraeng. However, the term "samaw" was believed to be a corrupted version of "damaw", a Khmer term for stone. Originally called Wat Damaw-kraeng, the name was gradually twisted and was known as Wat Samaw-kraeng, meaning hard rock. During the reign of King Rama IV, it was accepted under rayal patronage and was accorded the status of royal temple. Along with the new status, it was renamed "Wat Devarajkunchorn", a name adopted from the former moniker of Krom Phra Pithakdeves who oversaw the restoration efforts of the temple. Today, it has come under the protection of the Department of Fine Arts as a listed ancient building of importance.

The prevailing architectural look of the temple follows that of the early Rattanakosin period. Thus, upon arriving at the temple entrance, one comes upon the gallery of a square structure with a spire, known in Thai as Mondhop Chaturamuk, where Buddha images are housed. This square structure was built in 1993 with the inner wall and a listed floor lined with marble.

The chapel in its immediate neighborhood is a later addition; measuring 24 x 43.50 meters in width and length respectively, it was built as a replacement of an older one. While it is protected by a low wall, its appearance definitely reminds one of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha with pagodas sitting snugly in each of the four corners. There is yet another pagoda within the lower wall, notably one built of brick with a terracotta roof. More pagoda are located: the pagoda to the north is tall while those in the east and west are smaller but the one in the south has long been removed. Inside the uposatha, mural paintings grace the expanse of the two walls with scenes of fairy assembly during the course of the Buddha’s visit to his mother in heavenly abode being depicted over the panels above the windows. The lower wall at the entrance to the uposatha features the ten reincarnations derived from an ancient tale of Suwannasarm and scenes of monks discerning corpses to attain the truth of life.

The principal Buddha image in the uposatha was made of metal but totally covered in lacquer. In the pose of Subduing Mara, the Buddha image set on a stand reflects the influence of the Dvaravati School of Art, measuring 4.35 meters across the lap and 5.65 meters in height. Of the features worth mentioning is the Devaraja Patimakorn Buddha image His Majesty King Bhumipol named on February 15, 2003.

Besides the uposatha, there is a protected building which used to serve as a cleric residence. Known as Kuti Devarajkunchon, this two storey building, 9.5 x 16 meters in width and length respectively, was built without gable support, a building termed technically as panya. Although there is no historical record to confirm its construction, it is believed to have been built in 1932 as the abbot’s residence.

Believed to be the contemporaries of Kuti Devarajkunchon, Kuti Devarajdhammasabha is a building with three balconies that once served as a cleric residence. Today, it serves other purposes, having been converted into an office complete with a meeting room and the office of the secretariat.

The congregation hall, Salakarnparien – Devarajdhammasala, ia a two-storey concrete building of indigenous Thai architecture.

Phra Pariyatdidham is a one-story Panya building built of bricks and plaster topped with a cement roof. Painted orange with cream windows set in green frames, it was built in 1919, and after the restoration, has been turned into a school of Buddhist teaching.

As the restoration was completed, the buildings in the cleric residential quarter have, in all their aesthetic beauty emerged as one of the temple’s prominent attractions.

The Golden Teak Museum
The museum is part of Wat Devarajkunchon located on one end of Si Ayutthaya Road. Built in typical Thai style from rare golden teak sourced from 11 houses in the North, it measures 1,010 square metres and has six exhibition rooms where on display are, among others, Buddha relics from Sri Lanka and sculptures of famous monks from the Rattanakosin period.

Phra Indra : The king of the devas Riding Erawan Elephant
This statute of Indra, the king of gods riding the majestic three-head elephant Erawan stands in front of the Golden Teak Museum at the Devarajkunchorn Temple.

People visiting the temple to make merit can also take the opportunity to enjoy its aesthetic value, and, the best spot from which they can have the view is front the covered jetty by the Chao Phraya embankment. In addition, from the builing, they can feed the fish in the river and take delight in the clear view of the Rama VIII Bridge.

Today, the post-restoration Wat Devarajkunchon is an exceptional sight of beauty devout Buddhists can visit and make merit.

Dusit, Bangkok, Thailand.

Bus Nos. 3, 9, 16, 30, 32, 33, 49, 64, 65
Air-conditioned bus Nos. 5, 6, 16, 49

Opening hours
The Temple is Open Daily from 07.00 A.M. - 06.00 P.M.

Credits: Wat Devarajkunchon Waravihara

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