The Emerald Buddha
An absolute must-see is the Wat Phra Kaew on the grounds of the Grand Palace (1782) in Bangkok. Thailand’s most beautiful temples and valuable treasures are exposed to its visitors. A very special treasure of the temple Wat Phra Kaew is the famous Emerald Buddha (officially: Phra Putta Maha Mani Ratana Patimakorn). Over the years this beautiful statue became an icon to many Thai Buddhists.
The Emerald Buddha is one of the most famous prides of the temple complex. The Emerald Buddha is made of jade (not of emerald which was assumed at first) and covered with gold. The figure is smaller than a meter but highly important, which can clearly be seen through the beautifully decorated temple. Nowadays the temple is only put to use by the King during special occasions.
Experts are not too sure about the origin of this sanctuary it could either be in the North of Thailand or made in a city in India. However it is sure that around the 15th century Northern Thailand was housing the Emerald Buddha. In the following years the statue was moved to many places in Thailand and its neighboring countries. Finally King Rama I installed the Buddha in the temple Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok (1784). During his regime the temple got decorated with beautiful paintings inspired on the Ramakian style and the Emerald Buddha got its personal altar with lots of golden facets. By doing this, king Rama I hoped to be appreciated as the king and he believed the Emerald Buddha would bring prosperity to him and his kingdom Thailand.
When entering the temple visitors need to take of their shoes and are not allowed to make any pictures to show respect for the Buddha. Inside the temple Thai people are kneeling in front of the Buddha and hoping the Emerald Buddha will fulfill their prayers.
The Temple can be visited between 8.30 to 15.30 but best is to go early as there is a lot to see. To show respect to the Buddhist temples appropriate clothing is required. This means that visitors should cover their shoulders and knees.