In the series of Buddhist Shrines I have visited in the past, I have presented before my friends Sanchi Stupa and Sarnath at Varanasi. Today I will bring for you WAT PHO – House of world’s largest reclining Buddha in Bangkok. It was the Christmas of the year 2011 when we visited famed Wat Pho temple in Bangkok. & what an incredible experience it turned out to be! It was a scenic drive from hotel to the temple. Wat Pho turned out quite unique in many ways for us at least due to sprawling lawns, Buddha Statues, Buddhist architecture and reclining Buddha. Wat Pho houses many temples in the campus and it needs one full day to enjoy its beauty, serenity and spirituality. I was super excited to visit reclining Buddha but our guide suggested that we visit all the temples in the campus before finally visiting reclining Buddha. We had to heed his advice and we did!
Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha), or Wat Phra Chetuphon, is located behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and a must-do for any first-time visitor in Bangkok. This is what we did. It was our first tourist destination as soon as we stepped out. The ticket cost that time was 50 Baht which has been increased now to 100 Baht, this is what I know.
We bring before you the exclusive photo-essay of our trip:
Wat Pho is one of the largest temple complexes in the city and famed for its giant reclining Buddha that measures 46 metres long and is covered in gold leaf. It’s an easy ten minute walk between here and the Grand Palace, and we recommend coming to Wat Pho second, because even though the golden Buddha here is just as popular many people don’t take the time to wander around the rest of the complex so the experience tends to be far more relaxing. This is also a great place to get a traditional Thai massage. Wat Pho is often considered the leading school of massage in Thailand.
The highlight for most people visiting Wat Pho is the Reclining Buddha. The figures here are impressive: 15 metres tall, 46 metres long, so large it feels like it has been squeezed into the building. The Buddha’s feet are 5 metres long and exquisitely decorated in mother-of-pearl illustrations of auspicious ‘laksanas’ (characteristics) of the Buddha. 108 is a significant number, referring to the 108 positive actions and symbols that helped lead Buddha to perfection.
You’ll need to take your shoes off to enter, and if you would like a little good luck, we recommend purchasing a bowl of coins at the entrance of the hall which you can drop in the 108 bronze bowls which line the length of the walls.
When we drop small pennies in the bowls, they make a nice ringing sound and even if your wishes don’t come true, the money goes towards helping the monks renovate and preserve Wat Pho.