Jul 27, 2012

GOLDEN BUDDHA TEMPLE (WAT TRAIMIT) - THAILAND




Just came back from a short but absolutely thrilling Thai trip. Have got countless memories to share but due to limitation of time and space on this blog, I will try to do it one by one.

Here is the story of our first stop in Bangkok, the famous and magnificent Golden Buddha Temple.





The Golden Buddha is the world's largest solid gold statue. It is located in the temple of Wat Traimit, Bangkok Thailand.





Temple of Wat Traimit


Side view of the Shikhar of Wat Traimit



Monk seated @ the entrance of the temple, blessing devotees with Holy water



Intricate wooden carving on the way to main temple hall



Buddhist mythology is indeed Hindu mythology, but with different local names at times




The origins of this statue remain uncertain. It is made in the Sukhothai Dynasty style, and is thought to have been made during the Sukhothai period in the 13th-14th centuries. The head of the statue is egg-shaped, which indicates its origin in the Sukothai period. Sukothai art had Indian influences. Metal figures of the Buddha made in India used to be taken to various countries for installation. So the Golden Buddha statue may have been cast in parts in India.





Later the statue was moved from Sukhothai to Ayutthaya in 1403. At some point of time, the statue was completely plastered over to prevent it from being stolen. This plaster was later painted and inlaid with bits of coloured glass. It is believed that this plastering was done to protect the statue in Ayutthaya kingdom from Burmese invaders. The statue subsequently remained among the ruins of Ayutthaya without attracting much attention.





In 1801, Thai King Rama I after establishing Bangkok as a new capital city of the Kingdom, and after commissioning the construction of many temples in Bangkok, ordered that various old Buddha images should be brought to Bangkok from the ruined temples around the country. So this was the time that the Golden Buddha was probably brought from Ayutthaya to Bangkok. After being moved to the temple of Wat Traimit in Bangkok the statue was kept under a tin roof for about 20 years. Thus, it seems like the true identity of this statue was forgotten for almost 200 years




Celling of the main temple hall beautifully decorated with elaborate gold work




In 1954, a new Viharn building was built at the Temple, so it was decided to house the statue there. The statue was being moved to its new location on 25 May 1955. During the final attempt to lift the statue from its pedestal, the ropes holding the statue broke, and the statue fell down hard on the ground. At that time, some of the plaster coating of the statue chipped off, allowing the gold surface underneath to be seen. So this is how the real statue beneath the plaster was revealed. The work was immediately stopped so that the full evaluation could be made.





Later, all plaster was carefully removed, so that the Gold Buddha could be seen again in all its glory. In the process, the photos of different stages of plaster removal had been taken and are now displayed in the Temple for the visitors. Also on display are some of the old pieces of the plaster.





When the plaster was being removed, it was also found that the gold statue actually consists of nine parts that all fit smoothly together. Also, a key was found encased in plaster at its base. This key could be used to disassemble the statue, to facilitate its transportation.

The statue made or 18 carat Solid Gold is 3 metres (9.8 ft) tall and weighing 5500 kg, is the World Biggest Solid Gold Statue holding a Guinness Book of World record on it name. 






For all those people whose mind has already started calculating the price of gold used for the statue, let me tell you that Im no different and tried doing the same. However to my bigger surprise, just before displaying the final result of calculation my device said, RESULT TOO LARGE TO DISPLAY. Then it suddenly struck me, I thought to myself, mathematics could probably measure the money spent for moulding the statue but not the Devotion of the people. Science has its own limitations you see.





However, going by the present market price of Gold at 30000 Rs for per 10 grams, a Solid Gold Statue of 5500 Kg would value at around 1650,000,000,00 Rs. Yes of course that’s only the cost of gold involved, without considering the Antique Value of the statue. My knowledge of mathematics is however limited to express the amount in words. You may like to give it a try....







Chatraa covering the head of Lord Buddha, again very similar to Hindu ways of worship



Beautiful gold hangings on the edge and dull silver finish at the centre makes a perfect combination 



Temple columns decorated with gold enamel



Beautiful arches and windows with detailed work





Bells form a very integral part of Buddhist culture and philosophy 



Garuda the divine carrier of Lord Vishnu on the bell




There are something’s which get etched into your memory for ever. This was one of those experiences. Golden Buddha Temple is truly a marvel. A height of human perfection and devotion which might never be paralleled in the time to come.






















Hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed it putting it together for you... Stay in touch for more..


Till then, as they say in Thai, Sawasdee


Images curtsey: Canon DSLR 550D mounted with Telephoto Tamaron 80-210mm
History curtsey: Wiki & our amazing Thai Guide cum Trip coordinator, Mr. Andy

This one's for you Andy...

2 comments:

  1. Gaurav! Temple of Wat Traimit is absolutely an amazing tourist attraction for travelers particularly for Buddhist. It is famous for its world’s largest solid gold statue (Golden Buddha). Recently; I had a chance to go to Thailand with my uncle. We spent there one week and had lots of fun there. We used to visit the Khao Sok National Park, Lumphini Park, Safari World, Wat Arun, Golden Buddha and the Grand Palace during this one week. To travel through its temples especially The Temple of Wat Traimit (to see the Golden Buddha) was amazing. I never forget the every moment that I spent in Thailand. Next I’m waiting to go to bus tour to niagara falls from new york city with my family.

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