The Emerald Buddha

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is located close to The Grand Palace in Bangkok which should be on the to-do list of any tourist to Thailand. This Temple has always been very popular as many of Thailand’s best temples and scenery is located in the area.

The Emerald Buddha

The best time to visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is in the morning when the doors open at 8am. Like all other Temples in Thailand always come dressed appropriately (no exposed knees or shoulders) and enjoy a walk around the area. Note that the admission fee for The Grand Palace area which also includes The Emerald Buddha temple is 500 THB (US$16). Also this ticket admits you into the Vinmanmek Mansion Museum in the same area. The architecture us amazing and well worth a visit when in Bangkok. The opening times are between 8am to 4pm and the area has many tour groups during the day.

Temple of The Emerald Buddha

Between the 1st and 9th of December in 2014, the purpose-built Temple of The Emerald Buddha took center stage as a venue for theater performances and a dazzling presentation called “The Phra Mahathat The Phenomenal Life Show.” This event held particular significance as it aimed to honor the King. The temple, ingeniously designed to accommodate a meditating Buddha figurine made from a single piece of green jade, was adorned with opulent gold and diamond embellishments. This exquisite statue was elevated above the heads of both worshippers and tourists, symbolizing a gesture of profound respect.

This remarkable temple, often referred to as Thailand’s most sacred, enshrines the most precious of all religious icons. The Temple of The Emerald Buddha is encircled by courtyards boasting numerous awe-inspiring examples of Royal architecture spanning across various eras. A visit to this temple is not only highly recommended but is often regarded as a pilgrimage, requiring visitors to approach with the utmost reverence and courtesy.

See also  The Grand Palace

Delving into the history of The Emerald Buddha, it becomes evident that its legacy extends beyond the confines of Bangkok and even Thailand itself. For over 246 years, it has resided at The Grand Palace in Bangkok. However, its origins trace back to areas outside of Bangkok and Thailand.

Religious Scholars

Religious scholars point out the distinctive meditation pose of The Emerald Buddha, which bears a resemblance to images found in Southern India and Sri Lanka. Notably, this pose is not a prevalent feature in traditional Thai sculptures. Historically, The Emerald Buddha has traversed through various regions in Asia, often becoming the subject of disputes between armies and kingdoms vying for its ownership.

The statue is believed to possess the power to bring prosperity and good fortune to the nation it resides in. The complete history of The Emerald Buddha’s early years remains shrouded in mystery, although it’s said to have been transported from India to Sri Lanka and subsequently to Cambodia, where it found a temporary home at Angkor Wat.

Eventually, The Emerald Buddha found its way to Thailand, gracing temples in provinces like Ayutthaya, Lopburi, and Kamphaeng Phet, which rapidly gained prominence. For more historical statues see also the King Rama V Statue as well as the King Taksin Monument in Bangkok.

Chiang Rai

In the province of Chiang Rai, The Emerald Buddha held significance from 1391 to 1436. During this period, a serendipitous event occurred that added to the allure of the talisman. A lightning strike at Wat Pa Yeah, a Buddhist shrine, revealed a previously concealed Emerald Buddha. This which had been disguised to safeguard it from past invaders. This revelation led to the renaming of the temple as Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of The Emerald Buddha).

See also  Victory Monument

During this era, under the rule of King Samfangkaen. The municipality of Chiang Rai witnessed the veneration of The Emerald Buddha. Recognizing its significance. The King sought to move the statue to Chiang Mai, a larger city that would allow more worshippers to pay their respects. However, three times, an auspicious white elephant carrying the statue. Then defied the intended route and instead stopped at Lampang province, where it remained until 1468.

In the mid-16th century, King Tiloka of Chiang Rai orchestrated the transfer of The Emerald Buddha to Chiang Mai. Where it was placed in the eastern niche of a grand stupa at Wat Chedi Luang.

The King, lacking an heir to the throne, saw his daughter marry the King of Laos. Thus resulting in the birth of Prince Chaichettha. After King Tiloka’s passing in 1551, Prince Chaichettha ascended to the throne of Chiang Mai. However, in 1552, the prince opted to return to Luang Prabang, taking it with him. Although he promised to return the statue, he never did. In 1564, King Chaichettha was ousted from Luang Prabang by the Burmese King Bayinnaung.  Who took The Emerald Buddha to the new capital of Vientiane, Laos.

King Taksin of Thailand

The story then shifts to Bangkok. In 1778, King Taksin of Thailand emerged victorious in a battle with Laos, reclaiming The Emerald Buddha. The statue was enshrined in Wat Arun in Thonburi province, on the outskirts of Bangkok. In 1782, under King Rama I, Bangkok became the new capital of Thailand. A splendid new temple was erected to house The Emerald Buddha. Then in 1785, it was transferred to The Grand Palace.

Since then, The statue has remained an enduring presence at The Grand Palace. Thus continuing to inspire reverence and awe. The closest stations are the MRT Sanam Chai Station and the MRT Sam Yot Station. It is a rather far distance to walk but its located between the two stations.

The Emerald Buddha



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