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Wat Phra Kaew houses the jade statue of the Emerald Buddha.  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.de/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Thailand > Bangkok > Sights & Attractions

Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)

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Wat Phra Kaew (วัดพระแก้ว), formally Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram (วัดพระศรีรัตนศาสดาราม), is the most sacred Buddhist temple of Thailand. While construction of the temple was completed in 1784, it has a sanitised appearance as if it was built only yesterday.

The temple houses a diminutive jade statue, the Emerald Buddha (พระแก้วมรกต), of uncertain but long provenance and revered as the symbol of the Thai state. According to the legend, it was created in India in 43 BC after which it was taken to Sri Lanka, Cambodia and eventually Siam. Art historians, however, describe the statue as belonging to the Chiang Saen style of the 15th century, concluding it must have originally come from Lanna (current Northern Thailand). It was taken to Luang Prabang in the current state of Laos in 1552, and moved to Vientiane twelve years later. In 1779, in the Thonburi Period, General Chao Phraya Chakri captured Vientiane and returned the Emerald Buddha to Siam. When he was crowned as King Rama I, he moved the Emerald Buddha to its current location in Rattanakosin.

Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha).  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.de/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

Visitors line up around the building for a chance to walk by the Emerald Buddha with offerings of lilies and incense. You must take off your shoes before entering the bot, and taking pictures inside is not allowed. Also show respect by sitting with your feet pointing away from the Buddha. The Buddha's clothing is changed three times a year depending on the season; you can see the other outfits in the Pavilion of Regalia, Royal Decorations and Thai Coins after the tour.

Continuing the tour, the temple actually consists of a series of courtyards full of chedis and buildings all in different sizes and colours. Some buildings are in gold, some are decorated with broken porcelain and there are smaller wats containing Buddhas of various poses and sizes. Also check out the enormous mural of the Ramayana that decorates the exterior wall. Other interesting structures include the group of eight prang towers, the Sri-Lankan style Phra Si Rattana Chedi, a model of Angkor Wat, the Royal Pantheon, among others.

Wat Phra Kaew is in the northeastern corner of the Grand Palace

Type: Monument/Building
Location: Rattanakosin, Bangkok, Thailand

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