Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wat Arun

War Arun also known as the Temple of the Dawn (its name come from Aruna, the Hindu god of the dawn) is one of Bangkok’s most striking landmarks. The temple is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. A temple has occupied the site for hundreds of years, but the name and design of the temple has changed a number of times over those years.

DSC_0050
The temple is an architectural reproduction of Mount Meru, the center of the world in Buddhist cosmology. The four corner prang, which house images of the guardian gods of the four directions, reinforce the symbolism.


Wat Arun is one of the few Bangkok temples predating the Chakri dynasty, the current rulers of Thailand. When general Phya Taksin crowned himself king in 1769, he moved the capital across the Chao Phraya river to Thonburi. Wat Makok temple fell within the area intended for the king's new palace along the riverbank. The young king designated it the royal temple and changed its name to Wat Jaeng—the Temple of Dawn, a name thought to commemorate the founding of the new dynasty. King Taksin treated the monks badly, expelling them so that he could worship privately in the temple.

Monks were allowed to return during the rule of Rama I, the first King of the Chakri dynasty, who disestablished Wat Jaeng as the royal temple when he moved the capital across the river to what it today downtown Bangkok. His successor, Rama II, renamed it Wat Arun Rajtharam and renovated the temple. He planned to raise the central spire (called a prang) beyond its original 16 meters, but he died before the project was realized. His successor, Rama III, completed the project in the years 1842-1847. The prang was raised to an astonishing 67 meters, making it the highest one in Thailand even today (Oriental Architecture).



There are two temple guardian figures in front. Characters from the Hindu epic Ramayana, the white figure is named Sahassateja and the green one is known as Tasakanth.

20101113_0199
The entry is on the west side, facing the river.

20101113_0166

20101113_0163
The central spire it is decorated with hundreds figures. 


20101113_0272

20101113_0278

20101113_0200

20101113_0264
The temple is decorated with broken pieces of Chinese porcelain.

20101113_0203

20101113_0206
Tourists can climb up the central spire halfway, but the stairs are extremely steep.

20101113_0267

20101113_0262
In the picture: the roof of the grand palace and the King Rama VIII bridge.


20101113_0302
Gardens outside the temple.


No comments:

Post a Comment