Wat Phra Kaeo

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Overview map of the temple area Wat Phra Kaeo

Wat Phra Kaeo ( Thai วัด พระ แก้ว ), literally: Temple of the Emerald Buddha , official name Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram , is the king's temple in the old royal palace in Bangkok .

The main components

The buildings south of the Upper Terrace

Prasart Phra Thepbidorn (Royal Pantheon) of Wat Phra Kaeo
Inner courtyard of Wat Phra Kaeo
  • The Chapel of the Emerald Buddha (Thai: Phra Ubosot ) - this is the main attraction that houses the Emerald Buddha .
    • The Emerald Buddha sits on a gilded throne, which was made during the reign of King Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I) . King Phra Nang Klao (Rama III.) Added an additional base under the throne so that the Emerald Buddha is now enthroned at a lofty height of 11 meters.
    • He is surrounded by ten crowned Buddha statues in the hand position "holding the ocean". They were dedicated to members of the Chakri dynasty from the first to third reigns.
    • In front of the Emerald Buddha is Phra Samphuttha Phanni ( พระ สัมพุทธ พรรณี ), a Buddha statue in an unusual style that was created on behalf of Prince Mongkut (later Rama IV ) when he was abbot at Wat Bowonniwet . It should house an astrological calculation and a relic of the Buddha.
    • The throne is flanked by two standing Buddha figures about 3 meters tall. They were created by King Phra Nang Klao (Rama III) in 1841 and dedicated to the first two kings of the Chakri dynasty. They too have the hand position "holding the ocean" (in Thai : Ham Samut ), they are gold-plated and decorated with precious stones. The figure standing north of the Emerald Buddha was given the name Phra Phuttha Yotfa Chulalok ("the Buddha who is above the sky and the crown of the world"), the southern Phra Phuttha Loetla Naphalai ("the Buddha who is the best." the earth is and appears in heaven ”). The king then decreed that his grandfather (King Rama I) should from now on bear the official name of the northern statue, and his father (King Rama II ) the name of the southern figure.
    • The walls are covered from floor to ceiling with superb murals depicting scenes from the life of the Buddha. On the east wall is z. B. depicted the temptation of the Buddha, and how he drowns the demons in magical floods with the help of the earth goddess Mae Thorani . The west wall shows the Buddhist worldview, the "Three Worlds" ( Traiphum ), with Mount Meru in the center.
    • The tall doors with valuable mother-of-pearl inlays were also made in the reign of Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I) in a style that was common in the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya .
    • The six entrances to the Ubosot are six pairs of bronze lion in the " Khmer - Bayon guarded style". The first pair was brought to Bangkok at the behest of King Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok from Angkor ( Cambodia ), the others were copied from this template.
  • The Phra Ubosot is surrounded by a low wall, the jewel wall ( Kampheng Kaeo ), in which small turrets for the 8 Bai Sema (boundary stones) are integrated.
  • Outside the wall there are 12 Sala Rai , airy, open pavilions for resting at regular intervals , which were created during the reign of King Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok.
  • On the southern transverse side there is a Hor Rakhang , a bell tower (see also: Wat ).

The upper terrace with 4 main monuments

Phra Sri Rattana Chedi
  • Phra Sri Rattana Chedi - The Golden Chedi is a reliquary, it is said to contain a fragment of the Buddha's sternum. It was created after the model of the three chedis of Wat Phra Si Sanphet in Ayutthaya.
  • Phra Mondop (repository for sacred palm scripts). Originally there was a Hor Trai (library building) in Ayutthaya style at this point , which stood in a small pond to protect against ants. During the reign of King Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok, this building was replaced by today's Mondop .
  • Prasart Phra Thepbidorn - royal pantheon with life-size statues of the previous rulers of the Chakri dynasty.
  • Miniature model of Angkor Wat , commissioned by King Mongkut , but not completed until the 100th anniversary in 1882.
  • Two gold chedis flank the east staircase leading to the terrace. They were built by King Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I) in honor of his father and mother. For the 100th anniversary in 1882, the caryatids were added (see photo). Although they look like demons, they wear a Thai crown. They are based on characters from the drama Ramakien .
  • Also for the 100th anniversary, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) had fourteen statues of mythological beings replenished based on models from the time of King Phra Nang Klao (Rama III) (see photo). According to ancient belief, these beings populate the Himaphan forest ("snow forest"), which is located on the slopes of the mythological mountain Meru , the center of the world (see links below). In addition to these gilded figures, many other replicas of mythical animals can be found on the temple grounds.
  • On the four sides of the library are four monuments of the Royal Insignia (Phra Borom Ratchasanyarak), which contain symbols of the kings of the Chakri dynasty . The first three monuments were commissioned by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) for the first centenary of Bangkok in 1883. The fourth in the northeast of the library was built by order of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn for the 200th anniversary of Bangkok. The monuments stand on a rectangular marble plinth with inscriptions on the sides commemorating the respective kings. Only two monuments contain the symbols for a single king (in the southeast for Mongkut, in the southwest for King Chulalongkorn), in the others the symbols of different kings can be seen on the different sides. Around the monuments there are numerous bronze sculptures of elephants, which represent the white elephants of the Thai kings.

Outbuilding (north below the upper terrace)

  • Hor Phra Nak is now the mausoleum of the royal family. It was originally built to house the Phra Nak , a statue of Buddha that was saved from the ancient capital, Ayutthaya . Nak is the Thai name for an alloy of gold and copper.
  • Viharn Yod - in this viharn the Phra Nak is housed today .
  • Hor Phra Monthien Dharma (Manuscript Library)

East of the Upper Terrace

Three of the eight prangs
  • King Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I) had eight prangs built east of the Ubosot . They were each dedicated to an important element of Buddhism. Namely (from north to south): the Buddha , the Dhamma (the Buddhist doctrine), the Sangha (the community of monks), the Bhikkhunis (the Buddhist nuns), the Pacceka Buddhas (Buddhas who did achieve enlightenment, the but did not preach the Dhamma - see Theravada ), the Chakravartins (universal world rulers who rule according to Buddhist rules), the Bodhisattva , and the Maitreya Buddha (Thai: Metteya , the future Buddha).

The Phra Rabieng

Ramakien wall paintings in the Phra Rabieng
  • The galleries ( Phra Rabieng ) surround the entire temple area like a cloister . Ramakien , the great Hindu epic about the god Rama and his victory over evil, is depicted on the walls . The story is told in a total of 178 fields in numerous individual episodes. The poems for this epic, edited by King Chulalongkorn, are written on marble tablets that have been set into the pillars opposite the respective pictures. Although the murals have already been restored four times (most recently in 1982), they are still an example of classic Thai painting. Note: the story does not begin at the entrance where the tourists enter the temple, but next to the north entrance, opposite the Viharn Yot .


When Chao Phraya Chakri , the future King Phutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I), wanted to relocate the new Siamese capital to the eastern side of the Mae Nam Chao Phraya ( Chao Phraya River ) for strategic reasons , it had been there for more than 100 years the temple Wat Potharam (today Wat Phra Jetuphon, Wat Pho ) and to the north of it Wat Salak (today Wat Mahathat ). The area in between was very swampy and had to be drained first. The residents, a settlement of Chinese merchants, were "asked" to move their businesses to the so-called "gardens" in front of the city (today's "Sampheng").

On Sunday, the tenth day of the waxing moon in the year of the tiger, in the fourth year of the decade Chunlasakarat 1144, i.e. in the year 2325 of the Buddhist calendar, in the morning at 6:54 am there was a ceremony of the "laying of the foundation stone" (placing the city pillar on Thai: Lak Mueang , opposite the Grand Palace). After the founding of the Grand Palace, King Phutthayotfa Chulalok was officially crowned king in a royal ceremony on June 10, 2325. (Quote from a memorial stone in front of the Bangkok city council).

King Phutthayotfa Chulalok built a new temple for the Emerald Buddha in the eastern part of his new palace. He called this temple "Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram", in German about "The temple of the sacred jewel (of the god) Indra", today it is called "Wat Phra Kaeo" for short by the locals, ie "Temple of the Emerald Buddha" . In a solemn ceremony, the Emerald Buddha was brought from Thonburi to his new temple on March 22, 1784 , where he can still be venerated today.


Web links

Commons : Wat Phra Kaeo  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 13 ° 45 ′ 4.2 "  N , 100 ° 29 ′ 33.5"  E