The Temple of the Emerald Buddha - Thailand
Deep in the heart of the breathless city of Bangkok lays the most important Buddhist temple in the whole of Thailand. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha resides within the grounds of the Grand Palace, and is home to the highly revered Buddha image which gives it its name. The entrance is guarded by a pair of colourful 16 foot tall yakshi statues, ancient mythical giants. The Emerald Buddha itself is just two feet tall but is marvellously carved from a single jade stone, and sits atop an impressive golden altar in the centre of the temple. It is carved in the Virasana yogic position, a meditational pose commonly seen throughout Thailand as well as in Sri Lanka and parts of Asia. The interior walls are decorated with Ayutthaya-style murals which depict the life of the Buddha, while the outside of the temple is covered in a myriad of golden symbols and carvings. On the perimeter of the temple are 12 open pavilions, similarly adorned in golden craftwork typical of Thai temples.
Where is it?
The Temple is found in the historic centre of Bangkok, within the precincts of the extraordinary Grand Palace. The Grand Palace is located in the Phra Nakhon District of the city.
What is it?
The Temple is home to the Emerald Buddha, Phra Kaew Morakot, the most important Buddha image in Thailand and one of the most significant in the world. Only the Thai King is allowed to touch the statue, when conducting rituals and changing the seasonal coat which adorns the statue throughout the year.
Best time to visit?
Bangkok is best visited from November to February, which sits between the saturating monsoon season and the excruciatingly hot dry season.
To the immediate north of the temple is an excellent miniature model of the famous Angkor Wat, considered the most sacred of all Cambodian shrines. It was constructed by King Mongkut as a stark reminder that Thailand was in control of the neighbouring state at the time.