Wat Phra Kaew has the formal name is Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram, which means the residence of the Holy Jewel Buddha. So, The temple known as ‘The temple of Emerald Buddha’. Wat Phra Kaew is located within the precincts of the Grand Palace in Phra Nakhon District of Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.
Wat Phra Kaew or Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram is considered a sacred place that provides protection for the kingdom and serve as a venue for making merit of The Royal ceremony.
Wat Phra Kaew was built in the reign of Rama I (Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok) who is the first King of Chakri Dynasty of Thailand. The temple is compound within the precinct of the palace which is in the heart of the old city of Bangkok and surrounded by walls more than a mile long. This place was built for house of the Emerald Buddha which is sacred objects of Thailand.
In 1782, Wat Phra Kaew was built during in the reign of Rama I who was Bangkok founder. In the past, Ayutthaya where is the capital of Siam (Old name of Thailand) fell to the Burmese (Present is Myanmar or Republic of the Union of Myanmar) in the reign of King Taksin. The King moved the capital to Thonburi and built the old palace beside Wat Arun the west Bank of Chao Phraya River.
After that, The King moved the capital again from Thonburi to Bangkok as it would be better protected from attack during the reign of King Rama I and this place became to the beginning of Chakri Dynastry, That is the reason why the king is necessary to build a new palace in the first place. The palace is situated between two old Wats (Wat Pho and Wat Mahathat) and Chinatown.
In 1785, Wat Phra Kaew was completed and ready for the King coronation.
In its history, Wat Phra Kaew or Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram has undergone a number of renovations, restoration and additions. In 1831, Rama III started the renovations and rebuilding for Bangkok 50th Anniversary of 1832. In the reign of Rama IV’s restoration was completed by Rama V for Bangkok centennial celebrations in 1882. After that, Rama VII restoration was under taken for Bangkok 150th Anniversary in 1932 and Bangkok 200th Anniversary in 1982 during the reign of Rama IX.
Many temples in Thailand are used area for mainly as living quarters for monks but Wat Phra Kaew is the only temple of Thailand that does not have any resident monks.
Why is Wat Phra Kaew called The Temple of The Emerald Buddha?
Because of Wat Phra Kaew or Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram is the residence of the Holy Jewel Buddha and regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. The temple is a potent religion and political symbol of Thai society.
The emerald Buddha or The holy jewel of Buddha is enshrine in the main building or the ordination hall of Wat phra Kaew where have official Thai language name is Phra Ubosot or Ubosot. Phra Ubosot have a fantastically decorated. The Emerald Buddha houses in the tiny house in Phra Ubosot, approximately 60 centimeters wide and 75 centimeters long. The tiny house of the Emerald Buddha is located inside the glass box and high above the heads of the worshipers and tourists. So It is difficult to reach the Emerald Buddha for see the detail.
Inside Ubosot is consists of Buddhist sculpture, architecture, painting and decorative craft.
**Photography is forbidden inside Ubosot.
What The Emerald Buddha is?
The Emerald Buddha has full name is Phra Phuttha Maha Mani Rattana Patimakorn which means a gem of three wishes that can be bring success to work and good luck. The Emerald Buddha is considered the protector of the Kingdom of Thailand.
The Emerald Buddha is a Buddha image in the meditating position or seated in yogic posture with Lanna style that is made from emerald which is in Thai means deep green color or intense green but some belive The Emerald Buddha was craved from a single jade stone. The statue is a rather small about 66 centimeters tall with pure gold clothing.
History of The Emerald Buddha
According to generally believed, the statue was crafted in 14th century Thailand. However, some belived claims the statue originated from India or Sri Lanka.
In 1434, The Emerald Buddha was found in Chiang Rai that was kept covered in plaster at a temple, but after a lightning storm at the temple. The statue fell down and after removing the stucco around the statue, discovered perfectly of a green jade Buddha image.
The Emerald Buddha was moved a few time to various temples, first to Lampang where it stayed for 32 years by The King of Chiang Mai and The next King of Chiang Mai succeeding in bringing the Emerald Buddha to Chiang Mai until 1552 Laotian invaders took it to Laos where the statue stayed for 214 years.
Until 1778 in the reign of King Taksin, Chao Phraya Chakri who later became to King Rama I or The first King of Chakri Dynasty defeated Vientiane and brought The Emerald Buddha to Thonburi. And after that in 1784, Chao Phraya Chakri took over the throne and founded the Chakri Dynasty of the Rattanakosin Kingdom. He moved the capital across the river from Thonburi to Bangkok. The Emerald Buddha enshrined in Wat Phra Kaew where remained as a symbol of the Thai nation until now.
The Emerald Buddha is covered in a seasonal costume, which is changed 3 times a years. At the start of the summer wears crown and a diamond encrusted gold robe, rainy wears gilt robe and headdress and cool wear solid gold robe. The costume or the robe change is an important ritual and is performed by the Thai king during royal ceremony.
Other persons not allowed to touch the Emerald Buddha, Except for the Thai King and who is his stead.
Opening hours and Entrance fee
Wat Phra Kaew is open everyday from 08.30 am to 03.30 pm and Admission fee for entrance is 500 baht per person.
There is a strict dress code, maybe you are expected to dress appropriately or being turn away. Please wear long pants or long skirts, long sleeved shirts and you are not permitted to enter if you wearing shorts, sleeveless shirts or singlets. But you can borrow sarongs at the entry area of the temple.
Note : Please follow the rules. Please do not disturb people worshipping the Emerald Buddha with loud noise. Please take off your shoes before entering the temple. Please avoid any offensive stretching of feet towards the Buddha. Taking photographs inside the ubosot is not allowed.