Saturday, September 1, 2012

Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

If your visit to the Grand Palace in Bangkok doesn't eat up a whole day and leaves you hungry to see more architectural wonders of Thailand's past, visit nearby Wat Pho.

Wat Pho is also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, or Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan. (I hope you understand why in my post I'll refer to it simply as Wat Pho...)

As the name suggests, Wat Pho houses a huge statue of the Reclining Buddha (Phra Buddhasaiya). The statue is 15 meters high and 43 meters long–that's a height of a 4-story building!

The feet of Buddha are also large at 3 meters of height and 4.5 meters of length.

They're inlaid with mother-of-pearl and are composed of 108 panels displaying auspicious symbols associated with Buddha such as flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers, and altar accessories.

Next to the Buddha statue there are 108 bronze bowls indicating the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha.

People drop coins in these bowls as it is believed to bring good fortune. It also helps monks maintain the wat.

The Reclining Buddha is only one of over thousand (!) Buddha statues in the Wat. Others are smaller in size, but are still impressive due to their large number.

There are also 91 chedis (stupas), four viharas (halls), and a bot (central shrine) on the grounds surrounding the temple. Some of the chedis contain the ashes of Buddha and some the ashes of the royal family.

On the temple grounds there's also one statue of Budai, commonly known as "Laughing Buddha." I'd like to point out that he's a separate character, distinct from Gautama Buddha.