THE EMERALD BUDDHA - WAT PHRA KAEW
THE EMERALD BUDDHA IN THE GRAND PALACE IS THE MAIN ATTRACTION.
The Temple of The Emerald Buddha - (Wat Phra Kaew) Bangkok is purpose-built to house a figurine of the meditating Buddha seated in a yogic posture, made from a solid one piece of green jade, clothed in gold and diamonds and elevated above the heads of the worshippers and tourists, as a sign of respect.
This is Thailand's most important sacred temple housing the utmost precious religious icon.
The Emerald Buddha Temple is beautifully surrounded by courtyards of countless majestic, all inspiring examples of exquisite Royal architecture through the millennia. A must visit and pilgrimage.
*Keep in mind to act with reverence and courtesy on your visit.
HISTORY OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA
For more than 238 years The Emerald Buddha, has resided at the The Grand Palace, Bangkok. However its lineage expands beyond Bangkok and even Thailand.
Religious scholars conclude with its particular pose of meditation, The Emerald Buddha resembles images of Southern India and Sri Lanka. Moreover this pose is not prominent in traditional Thai sculptures.
Historians know that The Emerald Buddha has travelled to numerous areas in Asia. Various armies and kingdoms battled for the ownership of The Emerald Buddha, as:
It is strongly believed to bring prosperity and good fortune to a country in which it resides.
The complete story behind the very early history of The Emerald Buddha remains somewhat a mystery, it’s alleged that from India the statue was moved to Sri Lanka and from there was taken to Cambodia where it was kept at Angkor Wat.
Ultimately arriving in Thailand to reside in various temples located in provincial kingdoms that quickly rose in prominence, including Ayutthaya, Lopburi and Kamphaeng Phet provinces.
THE EMERALD BUDDHA IN CHIANG RAI PROVINCE
Reliable chronicles from historical records indicate, The Emerald Buddha was kept in Chiang Rai (North of Thailand) from 1391-1436. It was here that a chance act of nature transpired, adding to the intrigue of the talisman. Lightning struck a Buddhist shrine in a temple called Wat Pa Yeah. The lightning exposed what was thought to be a plaster Buddha, the Abbot of the temple noticed that the stucco on the nose had subsequently crumbled away. Revealing the precious Emerald Buddha which had been camouflaged to prevent it being pilfered by invaders.
As a result of this discovery, the temple of Wat Pa Yeah was renamed Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of The Emerald Buddha). *Please note: In Chiang Mai the Buddha Statue that resides there or the Temple name is not to be confused with the Temple or Emerald Buddha in The Grand Palace, Bangkok.
In this period the municipality of Chiang rai was under the rule of the King Samfangkaen. The Emerald Buddha soon became exceptionally revered, it was thought to be moved to the larger city of Chaing mai where it would be readily accessible to a greater number of worshippers to give homage. It was sent out on a convoy upon an auspicious rare white elephant to a neighbouring city. However on three occasions, the elephant on its own accord hurried to another location instead, to the city of Lampang province (2/3 thirds the way to Chaing mai). The King believing that spiritual entities safeguarding The Emerald Buddha deemed it auspicious to stay in Lampang, to where it remained until 1468.
It was now mid-16th century, The new King Tiloka, of Chiang Rai, had The Emerald Buddha brought to Chiang mai. Where it was appointed in the eastern niche of a large stupa (a dome-shaped Buddhist shrine) at Wat Chedi Luang.
The King had no heir to the throne. The Kings daughter subsequently wed the King of Laos and born one son, prince Chaichettha. After King Tiloka passed away in 1551 the fifteen year old prince was invited to become the successor of the throne in Chiang mai. However In 1552 Prince Chaichettha preferred to return to Luang Prabang, then the capital of Laos, taking The Emerald Buddha with him, promising the ministers he would one day return to Chiang mai, however this never transpired nor did he return The Emerald Buddha. In 1564 the now King Chaichettha was chased out of Luang Prabang by the army of the Burmese King Bayinnaung, who in turn removed The Emerald Buddha and took it with him to the new capital of Vientiane.
THE EMERALD BUDDHA IN BANGKOK
In 1778, King Taksin went into battle with Laos and retrieved The Emerald Buddha which he enshrined in Wat Arun, in Thonburi province, on the outskirts of Bangkok.
The new capital of Thailand was established in Bangkok in 1782 under King Rama I. A magnificent new temple was built to house The Emerald Buddha and was then transferred to The Grand Palace in 1785.
The Emerald Buddha statue has remained there to this day.
EMERALD BUDDHA SEASONAL COSTUME CHANGING
In tone of great reverence for The Emerald Buddha a ceremonial costume change, only performed by the King of Thailand, occurs three times per year: for summer, rainy and winter seasons...
The Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) is located 700 meters south of The Grand Palace. Its a world-renowned 46 meter long gold plated reclining Buddha. Its pose is representing entry into complete spiritual enlightenment ending all worldly reincarnations. Within the surrounding corridor there are 108 bronze bowls representing the 108 auspicious characteristics of The Buddha. It is believed dropping coins into these bowls brings wealth and prosperity...