Monday, December 28, 2009

discovering Thailand.... part 14 Bangkok -WAT PHO - The home of the Reclining Buddha..

WAT PHO or Wat Phra Chetuphon as it is generally known to the Thais, is mainly famous for its Reclining Buddha Statue. It is the largest Wat in Bangkok and technically the oldest too. It was built 200 years before Bangkok became Thailand's capital. However, today the Wat today bears no resembleance to that originally constructed because it was completely rebuilt by Rama I when the capital was moved to Bangkok.

As you enter the  grounds of Wat Pho... you will see a small temple where there are smaller Buddhas... Buddhas of happiness, fortune and marriage. Before entering this temple you will see a big brass GONG -- which you have to strike as you enter.

This highly impressive gold plated reclining Buddha is 46 meters long and 15 meters high, and it was designed to illustrate the passing of the Buddha into nirvana.

The feet and the eyes are engraved with mother -of -pearl decoration. The feet shows 108 characteristics of the true Buddha. The picture above are the details of the sole of the feet of the Reclining Buddha.

As you enter the temple where you find the reclining Buddha you will hear a distinctive sound... something like bells ringing... I went to look where the sound was coming from.. I saw the sound that I was hearing was not bells ringing but people putting coins on little brass containers. You can buy a handful of coins for 50 Baht -- and the Thai people believe that when you drop coins in these brass containers -- you will have good luck..

In the large grounds of Wat Pho contains more than 1000 buddha images, most of them come from the ruins of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, the former capitals of Thailand.

Wat Pho is also famous as Thailand's first university and it is the center for traditional Thai massage. To get a traditional massage here costs 150 Baht for 30 minutes and they have herbal massages for 350 Baht an hour. If you want to experience traditional Thai massage, this is probably the best place available and is highly recommended, though be aware that it is not exactly a gentle experience. They also have foot reflexology massages which is 250 Baht for 45 minutes.

I watched a cultural show where young students dressed in their colorful national costume performed for the tourists. They were very good !!

Wat Pho is opened every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. There are guides that can be hired at the entrance for 200 Baht. But if you ask me, you really don't need one ---- I just wandered around the grounds and took my pictures of the Wats and the Buddhas.

I hope I can go back to Thailand... there are more sights I still want to go to..... I hope you liked the photos of Thailand... Till Then......


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