Wat Pho - FURTHER INFORMATION
Wat Pho - Bangkok visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Wat Pho' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Central Thailand.
Wat Pho (Thai: วัดโพธิ์), is one of the major temple complexes in Bangkok. It is just south of the Grand Palace, not far from the Lak Muang and Wat Phra Kaeo. The official full name for Wat Pho is Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn (Thai วัดพระเชตุพนวิมลมังคลาราม ราชวรมหาวิหาร). Thankfully, visitors do not need to know this!
Wat Pho is famous for the reclining Reclining Buddha image found in a temple on the north-west edge of the compound, which rates very high on the tourist 'to do' list. Because of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is also known as Wat Phra Chetuphon (Thai: วัดพระเชตุพน), and most Thais will refer to it by this name. The image is 46m long and the Buddha's feet are decorated with Mother-of-Pearl.
Wat Pho is the oldest temple in Bangkok, older than the city itself, and was founded in the 17C, when it was called Wat Photaram. It is a first grade Royal monastery, founded during the reign of Rama I. The temple was restored in 1801 and the name changed to Wat Phra Chetuphon. In 1832 Rama III carried out further developments and built the chapel of the 52m long gilded Reclining Buddha. The walls and pillars were decorated with images depicting the history of Thailand, astrology and other subjects.
Wat Pho became known as the first university of Thailand. Today Wat Pho is well known for the Thai Massage courses that are run in the compound, and for traditional Thai medicine. This image shows the old library of Wat Pho.
Behind the library are the four large chedis of Wat Pho (there are almost 100 scattered around the compound, many encircling the ubosot or bot). The oldest of these chedis was built by Rama I to house the remains of the Phra Si Sanphet Buddha image, considered to be one of the most sacred Buddha images from Ayutthaya. Rama III then built the chedi to the north of this to hold the ashes of Rama II, and also the one to the south in return for his own. The purpose of the fourth chedi, built by Rama IV, is unknown. During recent renovations various artifacts were recovered from within the chedis. These are now on display in the Temple Museum, copies being re-interred within the chedis.
Wat Pho is also famous for the vast number of Buddha images found around the monastery. There are nearly 1000 in total. One of the main idols in the ubosot, from Ayutthaya, contains the remains of Rama I, the founder of Bangkok. His remains were placed here by Rama IV so that people would worship him at the same time as they worshiped the Buddha.
There are two entrances to Wat Pho, the northern entrance on Thanon Thai Wang is next to the chapel of the Reclining Buddha. Most of the tourists arrive through this entrance, see the Buddha and then leave again. The second entrance is on the south side of Wat Pho, on Sio che Tuphon. The entrance is much quieter and more pleasant to use. It is the closest entrance to the ubosot entrance.
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