Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wat Ratchabophit and Royal Cemetery

Panoramic view of Wat Ratchabophit
It is said that this temple was built in 1863 during the reign of King Rama V, Chulalongkor. Wat Ratchabopit is certainly not regarded as  the  'must see' list when visiting Bangkok, but if you would like to visit a place that on one hand isn't swarming with tourists, and on the other hand, a place which shows an early attempt to blend both Western and Eastern Culture,  then this place is  worthwhile to visit!
First of all, let us welcome you with the Thai Wai before touring across the temple. Click here to see a brief description of the Tai Wai, how to do and its meanings.
Main gate of the temple. The exterior panels of the windows and doors represent Insignia designs of The Royal Decoration. There is also a royal cemetery with monuments containing the ashes of the Queen, concubines, sons and daughters of King Rama V, and various other member of the Royal Family. Here are more wiharns featuring chedis, in both modern and traditional styles. The cemetery contains tombs, monuments and memorials to numerous members of the Thai Royal Family, particularly those most closely related to King Chulalongkorn.
PhraUbosodh or the main ceremonial building of the temple is of a distinguished combination of two different styles, Thai and Gothic. The outer part of the building is of Thai style. it is decorated with pieces of The Old Thai Benjarong Ceramics which Is certainly a unique representation in the country.
Wat Ratchabopit is one of the royal monasteries in Bangkok which combines both Western and Easter architecture. Thus, The temple is also a beautiful place to visit and quite suitable to take photos.
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The entrance to PhraUbosodh or the main ceremonial building of the temple is flanked by sculptures of elefants made of bronze.

Bonsai Trees are also part of the decoration of this temple.
PhraVihara or the secondary ceremonial building is of the similar characteristic to PhraUboshodh or the mam ceremonial building. It is on purpose to keep The Principle Buddhist manuscript, Tripitaka. The panels of doors and windows are of painted wood carving with bits of glided glasses.
The gate of the PhraUbosodh or the main ceremonial building of the temple is made of a heavy wood, which is beautifully painted and carved with images of daemons and lions.
An impressive chedi modelled after the famous Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom province (the highest Chedi in the world, click here to see it), contains relics of Lord Buddha, while the enclosure around it contains many Buddha images in varying postures.
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Phra Chedi or the pagoda is built in a round bell-like shape on a platform. The spire arrow-like top of the pagoda is surmounted with a small round gold ceramics ball in which The Lord Buddha's Relics are kept. The sixteen niches install the Buddha image representing various positions.
Across the royal cemetery there are boards providing information about each mausoleum; however, it is written in Thai.  If I am not  wrong,  in this monument is kept the ashes of the Thai former Queen.   If not, the ashes is of someone very closely related to King Chulalongkorn.
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Yes, it is fall, after visiting the royal cemetery, we walked along this road crowded with dead leaves reminding me that everything is sporadic, that things sadly always come to end.