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Day 3 in Bangkok. Wow! Feeling excited to see this golden Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho. I’m about to experience to live a colorful life that is to eat, love and pray.That is in a snap of a second, I was experiencing a different world other than my own traditional one.
This is the start of my rigid travels, so today would be a long day. It has been a great early morning walk in the busy streets of Bangkok. Savoring the delicious moment waking up in a different horizon, the fact that I am in a Buddhist country, I’m astonished seeing temples everywhere, monks crossing the streets. Local restaurants are everywhere, instead of McDonalds and Jollibee a great proof that Thailand isn’t influenced by any Western culture, at least not quite as the Philippines.
Located in Phra Nakhon District in Bangkok, adjacent to the Grand Palace, with a long official name of “Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan”- in short is Wat Pho, “which is named after an Indian monastery where Buddha is believed to have lived”. It is believed to be created as a restoration of Wat Phodharam, an original temple built on this same site. Wat Pho has an area of 80, 000 square meters, that shelters one thousand various Buddha images.
T’was about 30 minute walk from the hotel, all I had in my hand was a map. Although it was dangerous to be ignorant on a strange land because of a language barrier, you can always find your way back because of Bangkok’s organized aid to your sense of directions.
This is “Chedi Rai”, behind me.
This big complex temple is divided into buildings intended to be as Thai public school, a little garden and these Cheda Rai scattered alongst the wide parameter in Wat Po. The smallest ones consists the ashes of the royal family,the 21 largest ones consists of ashes of Buddha.
The inside of temple consists of colorful bronze and gold plated buddha statues. The most famous that predominantly occupying the large space inside of it is the enormous Reclining Buddha, of which Wat Pho is known for. It is the biggest amongst one thousand Buddha images which has a length of 160 ft.
It’s foot arises 3m high and 4.5 long is embedded with mother-of-pearl, a strong, resilient and iridescent organic material coating the outside layer of a pearl. All I could say is wow! From which you can see the 108 panels symbols which can identify Buddha as flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers and altar accessories.
Inside the temple has also a lot of gems that represents symbolic meanings. This seven tiered umbrella above the Buddha statue represents authority of Thailand. The corridors are aligned with 108 bowls of bronze symbolizes 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. Thais drop coins here in a belief that it brings good fortune.
Timing to watch their “chanting”, a way of Buddhist to prepare their mind for meditation. I could barely understood their repetitive recites. They do it in a form of a musical incantation, holding onto their books of psalms, similar to devout Catholics praying their rosaries.
Every one is allowed inside but must be on a proper attire: no offensive clothes, shoulders covered and legs well- kept. Slippers must be left at the entrance of the temple. It is also implied that visitors pays respect to the monks as much as to their Buddha by remaining silent during the chants and feet without pointing towards both the monks and Buddha statues.
After the heartfelt and overwhelming being with authentic Buddha statues I have only seen in books and movies, I was too bombarded with the facts that history and culture of other country is one interesting thing that every young individuals should also know as much as possible experience with their own. And for that I am thankful that once in my life, I have experienced piety in Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand!
>>>Next: The Colorful Market in Phra Nakhon district