Bangkok constantly surprises tourists who come to the city expecting miracles. These dreams are bound to come true, especially if the goal is to see something out of the ordinary that shocks the imagination. All you need to do is visit the Temple of the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok. It is considered one of the oldest in the country and is second in popularity only to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
Overview of the Lying Buddha Temple
If you pronounce the name of the temple correctly, it would sound like the reclining Buddha waiting for nirvana. He has been lying there since the 12th century, gathering devotees and worshippers around him, whose prayers must have long ago elevated him to a coveted tranquility and enlightenment. The temple became famous and revered after the change of dynasties in the 18th century, with General Chakri as the ancestor of the new branch. He built the Royal Palace not far from the Temple of the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok, ordering it to be enlarged and ennobled at the same time.
The temple complex acquired its present appearance under King Rama III. Its territory was divided into two parts. The southern one contains the dwellings of the monks, while the northern one contains statues, halls for prayers and tourists. It is there that the Buddha is seated, to which visitors come in an endless stream. In addition to the huge statue, the Wat Pho temple in Bangkok is famous for being the birthplace of the art of Thai massage.
Architecture and design
One of the symbols of the capital is included in the mandatory list of tours of the city. The complex includes a pavilion of traditional medicine, an artificial pond, a small shady park, a library with ancient manuscripts, and a central figure of Buddha.
There are four stupas in honor of the kings:
- The green one, covered with mosaics, was ordered to be built by Rama I;
- The white one in honor of the founder of the dynasty was erected by order of Rama III;
- yellow marked his reign;
- blue appeared in honor of Queen Ayutthaya.
In addition to the crowned stupas, the area is guarded by stone statues brought from China. The walls of the temple are covered with paintings, and at the entrance the attention is attracted by a 46-meter statue, casting a golden luster. The movement of pilgrims begins counterclockwise in the direction from head to feet.
The amazing ability of Thais to extract grace from everything, including material grace, in exchange for the promise of wish fulfillment is reflected in the pots standing behind the statue. They are lined up in a row on a stand, and everyone is informed that if you walk along the row, throwing a coin at each, and there are enough coins for all 108 pieces, then the wish will definitely come true. To perform the ritual, a donation of 20 baht must be made and a bowl of these coins must be received.
Lying Buddha Statue
It is made of sand, shell and stones, with only a thin layer of gold plates on top. The eyes and feet are covered with mother-of-pearl. The skill of the sculptors was expressed in the relaxed pose, calm, peaceful facial features in a statue of 46 meters in length and more than 15 meters in height. To see the figure in its entirety, you have to step back to its feet, you can’t photograph it completely.
On the surface of the feet are ornaments illustrating the traits and states of the Buddha, many of which are very high, so it is very difficult to see them. You can pick up a free guide at the exit with a description of the complex, the statue and the objects on the grounds and look at it in more detail.
The house was built around the statue because it was not possible to move it.
Interesting objects around the temple
Near the main structure is a pavilion of traditional medicine. It continues to train healers in Thai massage techniques. The Lying Buddha Temple was the ancestor of this type of massage, aimed at general recovery, synchronization of internal energy flows, awakening the deep forces of the body.
Oriental medicine is aimed at complex influence, the main idea is to find and eliminate the cause of the disease, not its manifestations. Harmonization of energies with the help of movement, certain body postures, and massage comes first. This postulate is illustrated by figures of students in health-improving positions arranged on a small hill. Examining them will help you better understand the basic ideas of Oriental healing.
The inner courtyards between the rooms provide welcome shade, and the attendants, on presenting a visit ticket, can provide a bottle of drinking water and leave with renewed vigor to explore the wonders of the Wat Pho temple complex. The place of wish fulfillment is considered to be a lingam sticking out over a rock. The symbol of fertility and abundance gives men good luck in business, and women who dream of a child, the ability to conceive.
At the School of Thai Massage, you can get a wellness session for a fee from students who later become highly paid and respected professionals. It is considered to be a very prestigious school.
It’s also worth a look:
- Ceremonial Hall;
- the pagodas of the four kings;
- hall of sacred writings;
- rock garden;
- statues of hermits;
- collection of images of the Buddha.
Information for visiting the temple
When going on a tour of the Lying Buddha Temple, please note that you must wear clothing that covers your shoulders, arms, and legs.
Before entering it is necessary to take off your shoes.
It is customary to step over the threshold carefully, without stepping on it. As in a museum, it is not customary to touch the statues and the monks with one’s hands.
How to get to the temple
It is located in the historic center, next to the Royal Palace of Bangkok, which is clearly visible on the tourist map. The most convenient way is to take a cab, for a small company such a trip would be cheaper than the bus. You can also get there by ferries, getting off at Ta Thien Pier and by shuttle buses.
The Lying Buddha Temple on a map of Bangkok
The most comfortable option to visit – as part of the tour, as will bring, talk about everything and take back to the hotel.
Working hours of the complex from 8:30 to 18:00
It takes a whole day to see the temple of Wat Pho. A huge number of impressions will make you think about the meaning of existence and stand in admiration before the beauty that has passed through the centuries.